From Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
The Police in Kwara State on Tuesday announced that it had banned members of the Nigerian Vigilance Groups from carrying arms during and after the conduct of the House of Representatives by-election scheduled for this Saturday in the southern zone of the state.
Mr Fatusi Olabode, the Area Commander, of the Nigeria Police, Omu-Aran, made the disclosure at a meeting with political stakeholders held at the palace of the Olomu of Omu-Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.
The meeting was at the instance of Omu-Aran Traditional Council of Chiefs and the Olomu-In-Council, headed by Oba Adeoti, to interact with stakeholders toward ensure a violence free by-election.
The scheduled by-election is for Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency in the Kwara South District.
Fatusi said the ban placed on members of the vigilance groups carrying arms during the by-election was part of a larger security measure put in place to forestall breakdown of law and order.
He reiterated the command’s readiness to collaborate with all stakeholders in ensuring adequate security of lives and property during and after the conduct of the by-election.
Oba Adeoti, in a remark, urged political leaders, especially the party flag bearers in the by-election, to imbibe tolerance and play the game according to the laid down rules and regulations.
He said the meeting became necessary in order to assure the stakeholders of the support of the traditional institution toward a hitch free and credible election.
“Omu-Aran is known as a peace loving community where religion, culture had been unifying factors.
“It is our hope that the conduct of Saturday’s by-election would not be an exception.
“This meeting, we are optimistic, will foster the needed harmonious relationship among different political associations needed to move our community forward and ensure peace,” he said.
Mr Kola Adewumi, a PDP stalwart in Omu-Aran, in his contribution, said the party would not condone any act of lawlessness among its members, saying the party’s major preoccupation was to ensure a hitch free exercise.
Mr Shuaib Olanrewaju, also a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on his part, absolved the party from the story making the rounds that the party allegedly imported thugs into the community.
He pledged that the party was ready to abide by the rules guiding the conduct of the by-election.
The two major candidates in the by-election: Raheem Olawuyi of the APC and Jimoh Alatise of PDP hail from Omu-Aran community.
The Ekiti/ Oke Ero/ Irepodun/Isin Federal Constituency became vaccant recently when their federal representative, Hon. (Princess) Funke Adedoyin, passed on.