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Don’t link me, Saraki with cultists, gov cries out

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Don’t link me, Saraki with cultists, gov cries out

Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, yesterday described as false and misleading, insinuations linking him and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki with the suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin, the state capital and transferred by the Nigeria Police to Abuja.

Ahmed, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, said neither him nor the Senate President or any of their aides had links with the suspected cultists or their alleged activities.

He also denied any knowledge of, or any intention to harm any individual as the political leadership in the state has never used violence as a political tool.

The statement, entitled, “Suspected Cultists: Don’t link me or Saraki” referred the general public to the parade of the suspects by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aminu Pai Saleh, on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Ilorin, during which he announced that the suspects were arrested for alleged murder and membership of cult groups, but made no mention of any confessional statement linking their activities to any sponsors.

The governor described the alleged killings as the outcome of clashes between rival cults in the state as most victims have been identified by security agencies as members of cult groups. Ahmed emphasised that the growing problem of cultism and cult-related criminalities formed the basis of his charge to the new Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Saleh, to focus on ending the menace on his resumption last month.

According to him, the state government sees cultism as a serious security issue requiring urgent attention and has, accordingly, amended the State Cultism Law to prescribe stiffer penalties for convicts and those who aid and abet them, besides providing operational support to all security agencies in the state in their fight against all forms of criminalities, including cultism.

He warned that cultism is a serious security challenge which should neither be trivialised, turned into a political tool nor be treated with levity. He, therefore, urged well-meaning Nigerians to disregard any attempt to politicise the menace of cultism, but focus instead on joining hands with the government and security agencies to bring the menace to an end in the interest of public safety, while allowing the rule of law and justice to prevail in the matter.

Saraki had, on Wednesday, raised an alarm, accusing the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, of plotting to frame him up by linking him to the activities of the arrested suspected cultists in Kwara State.

The President of the Senate, who drew the at-tention of the Senate to the matter during plenary session, said that the scheme to incriminate him by the IGP was revealed to him by the Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed. He said that Ahmed told him that a group of suspects who had been in police cells for several weeks for cultism and whose investigation had been concluded, with prosecution about to commence under the State law based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Ministry of Justice, were ordered to be transferred to Abuja yesterday morning.

Saraki further said that the information available to the governor revealed that the IGP directed the Kwara State Commissioner of Police to immediately transfer the suspects to Force Headquarters.

He noted that the governor was made to understand that the plan was to make the suspects, under duress, to alter the statements they already made in Ilorin, stating that their new statements would be made to implicate the Kwara State government and himself.

The President of the Senate alleged that the motive of the IGP in the matter was to settle scores over the declaration by the Senate that he was not qualified and competent to hold any public office, within and outside the country and that he was an enemy of Nigerian democracy based on his usual disrespectful conduct towards lawful authorities.

Accordingly, the Senate constituted a ten-man delegation to meet President Muhammadu Buhari over the alleged attempt to implicate Saraki in a criminal matter, as well as other maltreatment given to senators, including withdrawal of their police orderlies by the IGP. But the police vowed to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the killings in Kwara State.

The police, in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), ACP Jimoh Moshood, described the allegation as “a ruse, unfortunate and an attempt to divert police investigation.

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