2011 countdown: Politician shot dead in Ekiti State during communityfestival

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Governor Segun Oni
Governor Segun Oni

Ilawe-Ekiti, headquarters of Ekiti South West Local Government Area, was in turmoil Sunday, following the death of an Action Congress (AC) House of Assembly aspirant, Mr. Kunle Ayaga.

Ayaga was shot dead during the yearly Ogun Festival parade.

The festival was alleged to have been hijacked by politicians battling for the soul of the town, ahead of the 2011 general elections.

Ayaga’s body was deposited at the mortuary of the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

The Ilawe Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and another policeman whose identity could not be ascertained at press time were attacked by the angry residents of the community – apparently in protest against the late Ayaga’s killing. The DPO was unconscious last night, the Police said.

The bodies of the policemen were brought to the mortuary of the UTH, Ado-Ekiti at about 6.50 pm.

AC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains in the community were trading blame over the violence that marred the festival.

AC members alleged that the shot that killed Ayaga was fired by the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) brought into the town by a senior government official who hails from the community. PDP denied any role in the killing, warning that it should not be dragged into the violence.

Ekiti Southwest Local Government Area AC chair Mr. Gabriel Olagunju claimed that Ayaga was killed when members of the community were dancing round the town as the festival was in full swing.

Youths in protest in Ekiti
Youths in protest in Ekiti

Amid the parade, Olagunju alleged, a SARS vehicle pulled up behind the revellers and an argument ensued over the alleged disruption of the procession by the policemen.

The AC chief said the late Ayaga was standing next to him when he (Ayaga) was shot. He fell down immediately, lying in a pool of his blood, he said.

Olagunju added that youths became violent when they learnt of the shooting. They attacked the SARS men whom he alleged ran inside the compound of the senior government official.

A PDP chieftain from the community, Mrs. Modupe Ogundipe, said the festival should not be politicised.

Mrs. Ogundipe, who is also the State Woman Leader of the PDP and a House of Assembly aspirant of her party, said on phone that although she was in Lagos at the time of the incident, the violence, according to her, was not orchestrated by PDP members.

The community was tense last night.

When contacted on the alleged shooting by SARS men, the state Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Mr. Mohammed Jimoh, said the command was aware of the incident.

Pressed for further comments, Jimoh said: “We are addressing the situation.”

Governor Segun Oni last night described the violence as “highly unfortunate”, promising a probe.

His Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre, said the mayhem would be investigated.

Commiserating with the bereaved families, Oni said the law will take its course.

The governor said: “This is very sad. It is rather unfortunate that a communal festival meant to enhance the tradition of the people turned gory and bloody.

“It is not a cheery news at all but the violence will be investigated as the law must take its course to prevent a recurrence.”

Source: The Nation