By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
The Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC) has denied writing petition to President Muhammadu Buhari over political violence in the state, in particular what it described as the recent gun duel between some suspected political thugs and security agents attached to the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
The coalition said it has no affiliation with some individuals who claimed to speak on behalf of “Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Osun State.”
Addressing a press conference in Osogbo on Tuesday, the vice chairman of the group, Comrade Wole Folaranmi noted that OCSC does not know anything about the purported press conference addressed by some group and the petition sent to the President with the heading: “Dangerous and Socially Irresponsible Actions Of The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.”
Folaranmi who was flanked by the chairman of the group, Comrade Waheed Lawal, stated that all the people and organisations listed as signatories to the purported petition are not members of the group.
The group, therefore dissociated itself from the press conference and the said petition.
“We suspect that the action of the petitioners was politically motivated for pecuniary gains. And the said individuals were hurriedly put together by political elements who needed the service of available, curruptible civil society groups to drive their selfish interest,” the coalition said.
“Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC) was formed in 2011 by not less than 16 pressure groups and nongovernmental organisations based in Osun State. We are not just a ‘hurriedly’ put together civil society groups”
“Membership of Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC) includes the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Justice Now Foundation (JNF), Peoples Welfare League (PWL) Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Movement For Social Justice (MSJ), Independent Masses Forum, just to mention a few among notable organizations”
“We acknowledge individual’s right of association and freedom of speech, but freedom without responsibility will give room for shenanigans. We state with all modesty that all the issues raised in the said petition were half truth and there is no sincerity, fairness and objectivity in it. However, we don’t want to join issue with anybody”
“We ordinarily wanted to keep silent on the petition but because of the confusion and mistaken identity that it has generated, this press statement is needed for clarification.
“Having said that, we are not unaware of the growing threats to security of lives and property of the people of Osun State. We state categorically that Osun is no longer a safe state that it used to be”
“There is a growing trend of insecurity with a side attraction of political violence. Recently, the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi declared a dusk to dawn curfew because of the incessant armed robbery in the city. The Aree in Council in Iree, the hosting community of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, also declared curfew because of armed robbery, kidnapping and ritual killings in the town few weeks ago”
“Cultists and hoodlums have been terrorising Ilesa and Ede consistently, leaving nothing less than 18 people dead. Just yesterday, it was reported that 10 people were killed in a fresh cult clash in Ilesa. This is hearth-breaking. Osogbo, the state capital, is now an abode for both cultists and thugs. The rate at which thugs are ‘growing’ in Osogbo is alarming and this calls for concern from all rational residents of the state”
“We observe that our core politicians have shamelessly been banking on the support of thugs and criminal elements for their political activities. This is a dangerous trend as it is already posing threat to our lives and property”
” The spate of political violence in the state is alarming, and we condemn anybody and everybody connected to this. The political gladiators should not turn Osun to a battle ground where the use of hoodlums with dangerous weapon is the order of the day”
The group urged all security agencies in the state to rise to the challenge of restoring the lost glory of Osun as one of the safest states in Nigeria.
“We specifically call on the Commissioner of Police to rise up to the core duty of policing. There is need to do more on the police activities as regard preventing and curtailing violence and other crimes, investigations and prosecution of the real perpetrators of crimes without fear or favour; fear and favours are corrupt enemies of law and order, which the police suppose to exemplify”