Election: Governor Ahmed bans street rallies, campaigns in Kwara

Kwara state governor, Alhaji AbdulFattah Ahmed, has banned street processions and rallies by political parties following the recent spate of political violence in the state.

Ahmed, who made the announcement in a special broadcast said only political rallies in designated areas and proper police approval would be allowed as part of measures agreed upon by the state security council which met over the development on Monday.

Other measures approved by the council included the establishment of a Joint Military Task Force comprising the Police, Army, Navy, Airforce, Department Of State Security, Civil Defence and the National Drug law enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The government also promised to ensure that all those found culpable in the weekend mayhem would be brought to book irrespective of their status.

Text of the address reads: “I address you today on account of recent developments that threaten the peace and harmony of our state. As you are aware, political campaigns have commenced ahead of the general elections.

“In keeping with the tradition in our state, these campaigns were expected to be robust but peaceful. Unfortunately, what we have witnessed instead is an increasing resort to criminality as a result of heightened political activities, with a consequent threat to law and order.

“Let me make it clear: We will not let our state slide back to the dark era of fear and violence. No individual, group or political party will be allowed to disrupt the harmony that defines us as a people. In this regard, let there no doubt that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on perpetrators of the violence we have witnessed.

“Anyone found to have either contributed to the recent violence or apprehended for involvement will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, no matter their status, background or political affiliation. Kwara State’s peace, security and harmony cannot and will not be sacrificed for the ambition of any individual or political party.

“Yesterday, I chaired an emergency state security council meeting and charged the police and other security agencies to deploy all lawful measures to secure lives and property in the state.

“Following assurances by these security agencies, I urge all our people to go about their lawful activities without fear for their safety. Our security agencies are capable and ready to forestall any further recurrence of such ugly incident.

“As your Governor, I assure you that no effort will be spared by my government to protect the lives and property of all law-abiding residents of the state. I also urge you to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities, movements and developments to the security agencies for prompt action.

“In this regard, I have approved the establishment of a Joint Military Task Force. This body is tasked with providing an extra layer of security and preventing a recurrence of the political violence witnessed in the last couple of days.

“As an additional security measure, political street rallies and processions are hereby banned across the state. Only political rallies in designated areas and with prior notification to the state police command will be allowed henceforth. The State Police command is hereby authorised to ensure full compliance.

“Political parties and their supporters are also charged to campaign and solicit votes in a lawful manner and refrain from deploying divisive and inciting rhetoric or instigating violence against real or perceived opponents. Thuggery, vandalism, intimidation and other forms of criminality will neither be allowed no condoned in any part of the state.

“Those who aspire to political leadership must conduct themselves in a peaceful, and lawful manner while prioritizing the safety of those they seek to lead.

“Fellow citizens, I urge you to remain calm as your security and safety will continue to be protected and guaranteed by the security agencies. Please be assured that all constitutional means will be deployed for your safety before, during and after the forthcoming elections.”

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