The Kwara State Police Command has denied taking an “active part in demolition and use of tear gas and live ammunition on protesters” during the demolition of Ile Arugbo (‘home of the aged’), a property owned by the family of Senator Bukola Saraki, in Ilorin.
The Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, DSP Okasanmi Ajayi, in a statement signed on behalf of Commissioner of Police Kayode Egbetokun, and made available to reporters, said:
“The Command wishes to respond to the news making the rounds in Kwara State and beyond, to the effect that Kwara State Police Command took an active part in the demolition of the property referred to as Ile-Arugbo along Iloffa road, GRA, Ilorin.
“The Command wishes to make it clear that as part of its safety and crime prevention strategies in ensuring a hitch-free celebration during the Christmas and the new year festivities, Police patrol vans were stationed at strategic points across the state, including Iloffa road GRA, Ilorin on the 31/12/2019 being the new year eve. As was witnessed by all and sundry, the Christmas and new year celebrations were generally peaceful throughout the state. Our anti-crime deployment during this period has nothing to do with any demolition exercise in the state.
“It is therefore shocking to the Commissioner of Police to hear the news of policemen shooting life ammunitions and firing teargas canisters at the scene of a demolition exercise.
For the purpose of emphasis, the Command wishes to immediately dispel the insinuations that the men reported to have been firing indiscriminately during the demolition exercise were deployed by the Kwara state police command. No policeman was deployed by the command for any demolition exercise anywhere in the state and no policeman deployed for anticrime duties during the Christmas and new year celebrations fired a single shot of ammunition or canister during this period.
“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police, Kwara state Ag CP Kayode Egbetokun has immediately directed a full-scale investigation into this allegation with a view to determining the veracity of this report.
“The Command hereby for the umpteen time wishes to reiterate the irrevocable commitment of the Commissioner of Police to principles of fairness, justice and the rule of law while making police service available and accessible to the people of Kwara state, please.”