Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and a coalition of civil society organisations in Osun State yesterday trade blame over the recent clash between the minister’s camp and that of the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, which attracted the attention of security agencies.
Reacting to the feud between the Osun State governor and the minister on the attendant spate of violence in the state, the coalition of CSO’O cast the first stone when it called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the former governor of the state to order.
Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, the coalition comprising The Osun Masterminds, Transparency and Accountability Group (TAG), Centre for Sustainable Dialogue (CSD), Oodua Youth Parliament (OYP), Osun Young Professionals (OYP), and Nigerians for Good Governance (NGG), alleged that the former Osun State governor and Interior Minister has been using security agencies under his control to threaten peace in the South-West state by instigating violence.
Dr Wasiu Oyedokun Alli, who spoke on behalf of the coalition said, “While superintending over Security Agencies under the Ministry of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has now turned security details attached to him by these Agencies into tools of political warfare, clearly undermining the jurisdiction of the Nigeria Police Force in maintaining security in Osun State.
“We have seen recently how men of the NSCDC, the NIS and the NCS sporadically shot in the air to terrify citizens of the State in Osogbo and other towns within the State. We refer to the official release of the Osun State Police Command, concerning the actions of men of the NSCDC, NIS and NCS.”
The Coalition urged President Buhari to sack Aregbesola from his cabinet ahead of July 16 governorship election in the state, accusing him of “shows of rascality, encouragement of followers to behave in manners that undermine the superintendence of the present administration in the state, denigration of elder statesmen.
But firing back at the CSOs, Aregbesola asked Nigerians to disregard the CSOs, saying they are “the rent-a-crowd pseudo-NGOs.”
Speaking through his media assistant, Sola Fasure, the minister insisted that he was the victim rather than the aggressor in the violence perpetrated so far in the state.
He said, “It is on record that on Monday whilst returning from a well-attended political sensitisation rally in Ilesa, known hoodlums attacked the convoy of the Minister as he approached the popular Old Garage junction in Osogbo.
“His convoy comprising of well-trained officers of the Department of State Security, The Nigeria Police Force (charged with protecting the minister) and other security personnel drawn from the Paramilitary services, professionally responded to the daring attackers who were armed with diverse sophisticated weapons.
“Having failed to achieve their mission of killing the minister on Monday, the sponsors of the evil plot have now resorted to smearing his name, hoping to achieve through the back door, what they can’t get fairly on the field.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the minister is aware of his constitutional role as a member of the governing cabinet, a leading light of the ruling All Progressives Congress and as the Minister of Interior, charged with providing security for the nation.”
“However, the Minister, just like other Nigerians, also has the democratic right of association as enshrined in our constitution. This, in our opinion, doesn’t deserve the murder of any Nigerian, talk-less of a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”