Thursday, 24 September 2015

Confusion as protesters attack Saraki, others for rendering them poor unable to buy rams for today’s Eid-el Kabir.

One witness told Chat212 FM the protesters were angered by the inability of the state government to pay salaries of workers before the Sallah celebrations, rendering some civil servants unable to buy rams for today’s Eid-el Kabir.

“Shortly after the senate president and other dignitaries arrived, some people started throwing stones and sachet waters in the direction of the Senate President and other important people,” one witness told Chat212 FM

Confusion as protesters attack Saraki, others at Ilorin praying ground

There was pandemonium at the eid praying ground in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, on Thursday as aggrieved faithful went on the rampage throwing missiles in the direction of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and other dignitaries.

“They started chanting Ole Ole Ole (thief), “Pay us our salaries”, “Where is our bailout money” and “Don’t use bailout money to service Abuja politics.”

Before long, the situation deteriorated, as some of the protesters started destroying cars and other properties in sight.

One of the vehicles destroyed is an unmarked bus, with a federal government of Nigeria number, belonging to the University of Ilorin.

“The protesters erroneously thought the bus was among vehicles in the convoy of Senate President Saraki,” a witness said. He requested not to be named for fear of reprisal.

The witness said as the violence continued, Mr. Saraki and other dignitaries were whisked away by law enforcement amid heightened security cover.

Other dignitaries to which the angry worshippers directed their missiles included the Emir of Ilorin,  Ibrahim Sulu Gambari; the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Muhammadu Bashir; former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi; Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Ali Ahmad; former Speaker of the Kwara House of Assembly, Razak Atunwa( now a member of the House of Representatives); a member of the House of Representatives, Amuda Kannike; a former National Chairman of the PDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje; among others.

Attackers are miscreants — Police

The Kwara state police command  said it has arrested eight people in connection with the attack on Mr.  Saraki, and other personalities at the Ilorin praying ground, the Nation newspaper is reporting.

According to the report, the command spokesperson, Ajayi Okasanmi, disclosed the arrests to reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.

The police spokesperson, the report said described those arrested as miscreants, saying there was no record of any civil servant or government official among them.

Mr. Okasanmi said,  “The state police command deployed no fewer than 2000 policemen in synergy with other security agencies to make sure that the eid- el – Kabir celebration is a huge success. It was free in the course of prayers and there was the insurgence of criminals which we put into consideration while planning our security strategy. We know they normally come to beg for money from well-to-do members of the public.

“So they came as usual, but we noticed they were becoming unruly and we have to come out to prevent them from where the VIPs were seated. We then chased them away and we arrested about eight of them. They are in our custody and we have started investigation.

“We learnt that one or two persons were injured; but there has not been any official reports as to if any was injured in the course of arresting. The motive of their unruly behavior is yet to be determined. As far as we are concerned the people arrested are miscreants.

“From the stories we are hearing one or two vehicles have been damaged but we have not seen the vehicles. We also heard that one person was injured but we have not seen the person.

“The prayers went as planned and the dignitaries that came back to their various destinations without any hitch. Among the people arrested there was no record of civil or government functionary; the eight arrested are miscreants.”

Attack has nothing to do with salaries of civil servants

“The Kwara State government said the incident at the praying ground has nothing to do with salaries of civil servants, saying all workers in the state were paid before the sallah celebrations.

A spokesperson for the state governor, Muyideen Akorede, said majority of state and local government workers, including primary school teachers, have received their salaries.In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Mr. Akorede, the state government said those that were yet to will receive their salaries by on Monday as Thursday and Friday are public holidays.

Continuing, the state government said “there was therefore no reason for anyone or group to spread negative rumours or incite trouble on any account as Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed approved the payment of state and local government workers last Tuesday in anticipation of monthly allocation to the state and federal government salary bailout for local government councils”.

The statement urged the people to mark the Eid El Kabir holidays peacefully and with prayers for the quick resolution of the challenges facing the national economy.