ACTION Congress governorship candidate in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola has called on the new service chiefs in the country to order the probe into the deployment of soldiers of the 2nd Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Armed Forces under Major-General Mohammed Saleh into the state before, during and after the April 2007 elections sequel to the request of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the state, saying that the invitation led to death, rape and torture of the citizens.
In a press statement signed by Aregbesola’s media aide, Mr Gbenga Fayemiwo and made available to OSUN DEFENDER in Osogbo on Friday, the AC candidate recalled how the innocent people of Osogbo, Ilesa and some other major towns of the state suffered from the deployed soldiers.
The statement read: “The soldiers were not withdrawn from the state until a rape victim courageously spoke to the press on her nasty experience as she was defiled in the state capital”.
“At the height of the military progrom in Ilesa, Oyinlola boasted on camera with the presence of General Saleh, threatening that if he had to bring a whole division of the Nigerian Army to crush Ijesa people of the state, he would do it.
“He then ordered that his main challenger for the governorship seat of the state, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola be declared wanted as if we were still under the military dispensation where he bestrode the land lawlessly and unquestionably.
“With this order, the soldier went into operation in peace time and mowed down harmless civilians in their numbers. It is hoped that the new service chiefs will see through the Facade of Oyinlola Trojan visit and refuse to be used as tools of repression against the opposition in Yorubaland,” he said.
Aregbesola also advised the service chiefs and the entire Nigerian Armed Forces to beware of what he termed undemocratic credentials and antics of Brigadier-General Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
He said: “We are happy to note that the military careers of those gentlemen officers have blossomed under the current but nascent civilian dispensation arising from their patriotism and commitment to Nigeria.
“The new service chiefs have become glowing examples of how military officers should submit to civil authority to provide the best defence and security shields for our fatherland. “It must be noted that before he was retired for being a political soldier, Governor Oyinlola served under a jackboot military regime that hunted down pro-democracy groups and repressed individuals whose commitments to the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria contributed to the peace in our country today.
“A peep into the career records of the new service chiefs shows that they are unblemished in their service to Nigeria and have distinguished themselves without political colouration”, Aregbesola insisted.
While wishing the service chiefs a successful and peaceful tenure, he advised them to keep a safe distance from what he termed “erstwhile superiors who may want to exploit their current statuses to unleash terror on political opponents as Governor Oyinlola did in Osun State last year against Osogbo and Ilesa people”.