Posted by Ernest Nwokolo | 8 June 2018 | 995 times
The Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday condemned the state government for allegedly instigating the arrest and detention of 18 members of the party and students of the state-owned Gateway ICT Polytechnic at Saapade.
The party claimed that its members were rounded up and whisked away in Isara-Remo by men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) while breaking the Ramadan fast with a member of the House of Assembly, Adebiyi Adeleye, at his constituency office on Odemo Road in the town.
But the government said it had no hand in the plight of the suspects.
Addressing reporters at the PDP Legacy House in Onikolobo, Abeokuta, the state’s factional PDP Chairman Sikirulahi Ogundele said the 18 suspects were arrested on Monday evening alongside the lawmaker representing Remo North State Constituency.
Ogundele accused the state government of masterminding the arrest, saying it was because the suspects dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the PDP in Remo Local Government Area.
The PDP’s factional chairman described the action of the state government as undemocratic and an arbitrary use of power in desperation to clamp down on members of the opposition ahead of next year’s general elections.
He wondered why FSARS operatives arrested two of the suspects, who he claimed to be 17 and 18 years, and kept them in custody for over 72 hours without establishing any case against them or charging them to court.
Ogundele claimed that some PDP leaders visited FSARS office in Abeokuta on Tuesday to secure the release of their members and the students but were told that the 18 suspects were initially accused of thuggery and later robbery, murder and conspiracy.
The factional party chieftain noted that FSARS grudgingly released the lawmaker on bail on Wednesday, but his efforts to secure the release of 18 others failed, saying the body language of the FSARS operatives indicated a directive from the state government was needed to release the detainees.
He urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to wade into the matter and warn the state police command to desist from being used as instrument of oppression.
Ogundele said the PDP in Ogun State would not hesitate to approach the court if the detained members were not released soon.
He added: “This is an embarrassment to the way political leaders had always conducted their affairs in the state. It is a dent on the image of the state to have detained a sitting lawmaker for about 48 hours.
“And for over 72 hours now, 18 persons who are members of the PDP and some students of the Gateway Polytechnic at Sapade are still in detention at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad cells at Magbon in Abeokuta.
“They were arrested on June 4; and up till now (yesterday), they have not been released.
“I have met Police Commissioner Ahmed Iliyasu over the matter. He directed me to meet the officer-in-charge of SARS at Magbon. When I met him, he said they (victims) would be released on June 6. That never happened. But it was later I started hearing that they were acting on orders from above.”
But the state government, which spoke through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Taiwo Adeoluwa, said it had no issue with anybody and was not aware of the incident.
“As a government, we have no issue with anybody. We are not even aware anybody is detained anywhere. Whether anybody decamped yesterday or today, I’m not aware,” Adeoluwa said. (The Nation)
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