The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State has decried the mass arrest of its leaders by the police, alleging that the development was in a bid to manipulate next Saturday’s State Assembly elections.
The acting state chairman of the party, Dr Akindele Adekunle, in a statement obtained in Osogbo on Sunday, said PDP members would occupy police offices across the state in peaceful protest, unless the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Baba Alkali, to put an end to the ongoing arrest of its leaders.
The party said the IGP Alkali was duty-bound to be impartial in enforcing the law, adding that the police boss should not take directives on who to arrest or detain from the chieftains of the All Progressives Congress.
The statement read in parts, “Our leaders are being arrested in a bid to rig Saturday’s election. We will resist any ploy to manipulate the polls. Osun people voted overwhelmingly for PDP in the last polls. They are ready to freely exercise their voting rights again. Arresting our leaders on Kangaroo charges is an attack on democracy and our fundamental human rights.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police to stop serving the evil interest of the APC. The police boss has a sacred duty to be an impartial enforcer of the law, not an agent of one political party against the other. It is unacceptable for the IGP to take directives on who to arrest or detain from APC chieftains. This is a democracy, not a military dictatorship.
“We will not resort to self-help. We are law-abiding citizens and a ruling party in Osun state. But if this harassment of our members continues, we will mobilize and storm all police posts in Osun state in a peaceful protest. Let the IGP arrest all Osun PDP members.”
The spokesperson of Osun APC, Mr Kola Olabisi, when contacted promised to react to the statement, but he has not done so, as of the time of filing this report.
But Osun Police Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, dismissed the alleged indiscriminate arrest of members of any particular group, insisting that the command was after criminals.
Opalola said police would continue to arrest criminals, for the law-abiding residents to live in peace and called for the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure effective policing across the state.
“We are police, not politicians. We are after criminals and if we arrest anybody, the person must have done something which is against the law.
“We have no affiliation with any political party.
Criminals will belong to one group or the other. We don’t know and we are not concerned with that. What we are concerned with is the security of lives and property. We are law enforcers and we will arrest anyone who disturbed public peace. There is no need to give a crime colouration,” Opalola concluded.