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Ekiti Protest: One Killed, Journalists Escape Death

 

One person was reportedly killed in Efon Alaaye, Ekiti State on Tuesday, as the crisis rocking the state over the planned impeachment of Governor Ayo Fayose took a dangerous dimension.

It was gathered that the deceased, simply identified as Modupe Olaiya was gunned down at Efon – Alaaye boundary where some pro-Fayose supporters had laid siege.

In Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, the mood was fouled as commuters were stranded for hours, as loyalists of the governor held sway. Journalists were not spared by the protesters’ fury.

All streets were deserted as students who were writing May -June WAEC, were also denied access to their respective centres. Civil servants who did not join the protest, also returned home.

In Oye-Ekiti where the protesters blocked Ekiti- Lokoja-Abuja roads, journalists who were going about their duties, irate youths vented their anger on them.

Government and commercial activities were paralysed as the governor’s supporters blocked all roads leading into the state.

Shop owners as well as commercial vehicle operators deserted the roads as palpable tension filled the air.

The premises of Ekiti State House of Assembly, which has become a battle ground of sort to the contending forces, was not spared, as the Fayose apologists took over the House.

Members of organised labour unions all joined the pro-Fayose rally as they matched to the assembly in a show of solidarity.

The atmosphere, however, became charged shortly after the workers left and when some cutlass wielding youths took over the assembly ground.

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They engaged the security men guarding the assembly. The Police shot sporadically into the air to disperse them.

A Hilux Van marked AA 363 YEK , conveying gun wielding thugs to the Assembly, collided with a police patrol Van at Secretariat Road in Ado Ekiti  where  three people were said to have been arrested.

Aside Ado Ekiti, protests were also held in major towns such as Efon Alaaye, Iworoko, Aisegba, Ikere, Ise, Ogotun Igbemo, against the attempt to boot Fayose out of office, thereby preventing human and vehicular movements for several hours as all major roads leading to Ekiti were blocked.

Sequel to the violent protests, the Police Commissioner, Taiwo Lakanu, deployed Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and personnel to all the affected towns and flash points, while the House of Assembly complex was sealed off by heavily armed policemen, who kept vigil on the place.

What fueled the violent protests was the rumour that the APC lawmakers, led by the embattled Speaker, Adewale Omirin, were planning to sit to discuss the notice of gross misconduct forwarded to the Governor on Friday.

The Head of Service, Dr. Gbenga Faseluka, and the organised labour led by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had besieged the Assembly complex warning the lawmakers against plunging the state into violence.

In a related development, armed soldiers on Tuesday prevented the embattled lawmakers from entering the state.

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They were accosted at border point at Ita-Ore Junction by soldiers led by the Brigade Commander in Akure, General Aliyu  Momoh,  who  prevented them  from gaining entry into Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, in the process of serving Fayose the impeachment notice.

This was despite the fact that they were provided cover by the police and Department of State Service (DSS) operatives.

Addressing newsmen in Osogbo, Osun State capital, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Churchil  Adedipe, on behalf of other lawmakers,  condemned the attack on the lawmakers by the armed soldiers describing the action as a barbaric and unfashionable in modern society.

They claimed that the impeachment process they initiated was meant to promote the course of justice and democracy.

They added that the administration of Fayose was using seven lawmakers to run the affairs of the Ekiti State House of Assembly for more than seven months under the protection of armed political thugs allegedly hired by the governor.

“We rely strongly on the power of 1999 Constitution which regulates our duties even without coming to the assembly complex; we are still discharging our constituency responsibilities.

“Last Wednesday, we delivered a letter to Governor Fayose and it behoves us to seek the mandate of the Chief Judge of the state to investigate the matter.

“We also resolved that we will be sitting today (Tuesday). We proceeded to Ado Ekiti; we are surprised that at the criminality of the Governor when we are engaged by armed soldiers led by General Momoh,” they said.

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Adedipe disclosed that before proceeding to Ado-Ekiti, the lawmakers had intimated the state Commissioner of Police and other security agencies who were waiting to receive them and provide security for them to perform their constitutional duties.

“But we are surprised that the armed soldiers and armed political thugs hired by Fayose had blocked the border point to enter Ekiti to attack us,” he said.

He alleged that the Special Adviser to Governor Fayose attempted to bath them with acid while the State Commissioner of Police was armed with gun and acid as well to attack the lawmakers.

In its reaction Tuesday, the state chapter of the party described as untrue reports that the convoy of the APC lawmakers killed a man at Efon Alaaye-Ekiti on Tuesday.

It said that the report by Governor Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka, alleging the lawmakers’ convoy killed a man was the figment of his imagination and one in the series of media spins he had been selling to the unsuspecting public to mislead them to get sympathy.

Reacting to social and broadcast media reports of the purported killing, the Special Adviser on Media to Speaker Omirin, Wole Olujobi, said the governor’s aide was in a familiar terrain of mindless propaganda to mislead the public.

Source: Daily Independent

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