Following incessant political attacks in recent times in Kwara State, the state police commissioner , Mr. Salihu Garba yesterday compelled the leaders of all political parties in the state to make public declaration that, they would ensure peaceful conduct before, during and after the forthcoming general elections in the country.
The development was also extended to all the governorship candidates and other candidates contesting both state and national assembly positions in the state where they all pledged to make the electioneering campaigns in the state a free and fair.
THISDAY checks revealed that the action of the state police command was based on series of political attacks on opponents and destruction of billboards and posters of candidates in the recent times in the state .
However, addressing the leaders of political parties during the peace meeting held at Police Officers Mess in Ilorin on Friday, the state police commissioner, Mr. Salihu Garba warned leaders and candidates of all political parties in the state that, any person or group persons linked to any form of political violence or any unwholesome act during the ongoing electioneering process in the state will be dealt with according to the existing laws.
He said that, "As a law enforcement institution, we have resolved to use all legally permitted means to prevent any break down of law and order and all offended shall be dully prosecuted as there will be no sacred cow".
According to him, "This forum is organised having seen the need to sensitise our political actors and their followers on the need to be law abiding and shun all forms of acts of criminalities that may hamper this electioneering period".
"Intelligence gathered by the Kwara State police command so far reveal a great increase in the rate of political thuggery and hooliganism in the ongoing electioneering period in the state resulting into various forms of attacks on political opponents properties and posters as well as billboards and other allied offence associated with political violence which is alien to the state in the past as the state I'd known for it's harmonious nature.
"To this end, the state police command hereby register its position on zero tolerance to all forms of political thuggery and hooliganism in any form and categorically directs that such acts of criminalities shall not be tolerated in the state before, during and after the electioneering period.
"The state security apparatus has been put in place to wade off any aggression from any person or quarters aimed at disrupting the electoral process".
"On another development, facts at our disposal also reveals that while some of those involved in the act of thuggery are locally based, some are imported to the state to unleash terror on innocent people of the state.
"The state police command therefore put in place effective machineries that will deal decisively with the situation by leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that political trouble shooters, their agents and sponsors are arrested and made to face the wrath of the law", he added
Garba stressed that, "it has equally been decided that appropriate action will be melted out to any one no matter highly placed that is pencilled out to be involved in sponsoring any act of thuggery and political hooliganism through any direct or indirect action traceable to him or her".
He however warned leaders of all political parties in the state to monitor and curtail the activities of their members and followers that may engineer any form of breakdown of law and order as a result of spreading unconfirmed rumours.
Also in their respective remarks at the peace meeting, the state chairman of All Progressives Congress(APC) Alhaji Isola Balogun-Fulani and Kwara North Senatorial candidate of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in this forthcoming polls, Hon. Yunusa Yahaya assured the state police command that his members and supporters would do everything possible to ensure a hitch free and peaceful conduct before, during and after the elections.