By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
Members of The Osun Progressives (TOP), a caucus of the All Progressive Congress (APC) loyal to former governor of Osun State and current Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, were on Thursday, chased away from their meeting venue by gunmen who shot sporadically into the air, forcing its members to scamper for safety.
Addressing a press conference after the incident, Chairman of the group, Reverend Adelowo Adebiyi accused Governor Adegboyega Oyetola led-IleriOluwa group of masterminding the attack.
Adebiyi said the attack confirms the alarm he raised on Monday that the governor’s men were out to assassinate TOP’s leaders.
He wondered why the governor’s camp would be after the lives of fellow party members because of their assiduous efforts at revitalising the party in the state.
Adebiyi said it was high time President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of security agencies called Governor Oyetola and his men to order, saying that the Thursday’s attack on members of the Hon Rasaq Salinsile led faction of the Osun APC has shown their desperation.
The former APC Chairman stated: “The thugs believed to have been sent by the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s led IleriOluwa faction of the party invaded the weekly meeting of TOP around 2:10pm today. I was just addressing the caucus when the thugs started shooting. This led to a stampede as APC members scampered for safety. Luckily for us, there were no major casualty as members ran into the main building for safety. But some of our people were wounded.
“We need to state that officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who usually provide security for the weekly meeting were not on ground. Because of the absence of the NSCDC officers, the IleriOluwa group sent thugs to attack us. One Tesleem Raji, aka Akerele from Ile Esu, Ikoyi, Isokan Local Government of the state sent the thugs that attacked us here. That is the same guy that led the attack on us during the state congress. Today’s attack is coming three days after we raised alarm that the IleriOluwa people have concluded plans to eliminate leaders of TOP and other members of our party.
“I released a statement three days ago that some of our leaders were to be assassinated in the state by the IleriOluwa group, today’s attack bears us witness that they are indeed after us.
“We need to remind security agencies in the state that they are responsible for the safety of the lives and property of our people. They should not wait until one of us is killed before they act on our petitions and reports. We will officially inform the Commissioner of Police, the AIG Zone XI and the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on today’s attack.
“This is a serious concern for all of us in the state. We have been holding weekly meetings for the past four months. We have not attacked anyone. We urge the President to intervene now. Why will the government be using thugs to attack members of the same party openly in the afternoon? On August 16, the same set of people attacked us at the party secretariat. We were arrested and arraigned in court instead of the perpetrators of the attack. But the court set us free. During the state congress, they came to attack us again and two of our members were shot.
“Two days ago, they attacked some of our members in Ipetumodu, Ife North Local Government during their meeting. Today again, the same things happened to us. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police to come and see what is happening in Osun.”