More facts emerged today on the circumstances surrounding the war against the press which resulted to eventual detention of two journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
At a press conference at the State NUJ press center in Ilorin today, a media advocacy group, the #FREETHEAKOGUNS, unraveled the untold story behind the travails of the two journalists, including the role played by the Kwara State Police Command in the entire saga.
Issa Muttolib Ayobami, a member of the group, explained that the group remained undaunted by the needless war being waged against the press by both the State government and the Police.
Below is the text of the press conference:
PRESS STATEMENT DELIVERED BY THE ADVOCATES FOR #FREETHEAKOGUNS IN CONJUNCTION WITH ASKOMP AND SOBI 101.9 FM AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT THE NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS (NUJ), KWARA CHAPTER TODAY 17TH OF OCTOBER 2022.
In the concerns of the Akoguns’ kind of injustice, there can be only two parties; the Government and the people.
In the exemption of the brutes; which comprise the unprofessional uniform men from the Kwara State Headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force; the unpolished Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye; the oppressive Kwara State Government and her apologists in their discharge of injustice, irrationality and intimidation; we say our solidarity greetings to the good people of Kwara state and Nigeria.
Conventionally, it is believed that the coloration of lies and propaganda belongs to the government while It is the responsibility of the people to define their own true side of a story. It is upon this notion that we have come here today to relieve the people of the stress of having to read different narratives about the circumstances that have surrounded the unjust, unfair and inhumane incarceration of the two Akoguns – AbdulRasheed Akogun and Dare Akogun.
On the 13th of October 2022, the duo of AbdulRasheed Akogun and Dare Akogun bravely and without any feeling of guilt honored the invitation of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, CID Ilorin to have an audience regarding the petition sent by the CPS to the Governor of Kwara State.
The police in their usual unholy, unfriendly and untruthful conduct deceived the Akoguns by stating in their invitation that the duo’s appearance was just for fact-finding.
However, upon getting to the police station, the rights to innocence and fairness and Justice of the Akoguns were violated by the Commissioner of Police who incessantly requested the Akoguns to write an apology letter to the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye.
No amount of explanations will justify the action of the Commissioner of Police who placed himself in the position of the Court by giving judgment on whom is deserving of apology even when the Akoguns have rightly said they have evidence to defend themselves.
One would have expected that a sincere, honest and transparent public office holder like Rafiu Ajakaye would rather file a civil suit against the duo if he had believed that he had been defamed rather than using the instrument of the state to incarcerate them.
The Police, according to the natural convention and human belief, is everyone’s friend. But the scenario that played out just two days ago have shown clearly that the police have chosen a side and they can no longer be trusted to be the friends of the citizens.
The protest that took on Friday should not be misconstrued by anybody to mean that the Akoguns are weak and are strategically trying to avoid justice. In fact the Akoguns will be proud to show themselves before the court of Justice. They will be proud to defend themselves in a serene environment devoid of biases. They will be proud to stand trial in a proper court of law and will be responsible for the decision of speaking the truth without the fear of brutes and external influences. They made their position known and they informed the Commissioner of Police that they are ready to stand trial within the laws of the country.
But could we say the same with those who are crying to be the victims? According to them, they are plain and straight but they don’t want to apply the laws. They don’t want justice. They don’t want fairness. They only want to shut out the Akoguns. They want to keep them where it will be far to reach them for truth. These are their plans.
Knowing this fully well, the FreeAkogunGroup took to town to express disappointment on the police and their plans to allowed themselves be used to detain the Akoguns beyond normal. We displayed to them that resistance is not against the law but against injustice. We were peaceful, we were just, we were careful, we were obedient and legitimate in our approaches.
However, as shown by the police officers, most especially by the OC Legal CID, Aderemi Timothy Ajibola and PPRO, SP Ajayi Okasanmi who gave the directive to use force and lethal weapons on the peaceful protesters, that they are not ready to allow justice to prevail. It is obvious in the actions of the brutes and the Kwara State Government, in whose supervision the security operatives forcefully beat, dehumanized, tortured and maimed peaceful demonstrators, that they do not want gentleness, fairness and Justice.
However, this is the path we will continue to toe with them. We will continue our advocacy in the most peaceful and legal manner while we continue to resist any form of intimidation and act of violence against the people of the state.
The Akoguns have been remanded thanks to the orchestration of those who are afraid of justice. They have also tried to infiltrate our peaceful walk today to show solidarity to the Akoguns but we are smarter and are law abiding. They are not capable of stopping us. In fact they are too weak to do that.
While yielding the plea from the parents of the Akoguns, and while we wish not to allow an infiltration that will cause the people of the state any form of unrest, we have called off today’s rally to further observe the actions of these brutal forces. We will not rest until the Akoguns are released unconditionally and with apology from the police who treated the people of the state with brutal force and with no regard for law and professionalism.
The Akoguns will appear before the magistrate court again by Wednesday, 19th of October 2022 and until then we will remain resolute, determined and legitimate in our resistance.
Aluta continua, Victoria Ascerta
Issa Muttolib Ayobami
On behalf of the #FREETHEAKOGUNS