The reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC), the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and a frontline Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Mr. Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), Tuesday condemned the invasion of the residences of Saraki and Ekweremadu, by security agencies, in what is seen as an attempt to intimidate and stop some aggrieved APC’s lawmakers from switching party.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity of rAPC, Prince Kassim Afegbua, the aggrieved factional group within APC, wondered why the police, that should serve as the custodian of the democratic rights of the people, provide a good anchorage to safeguard the lives and properties of the people, have suddenly become instrument of “oppression, suppression and willing tools’’ in the hands of the powers-that-be.
According to rAPC, ‘’We are particularly disturbed that those who glorify themselves as democrats and fighters for democracy, by condemning military rule have suddenly maintained conspiratorial and ominous silence.
‘’They have not only endorsed this act of ignominy, but also watching with relish in the closet of their homes as the nation drifts on the plane of fascism, democratic militarism, gangsterism, and bare-faced dictatorship.
‘’It baffles us that while we are putting in place concerted efforts to secure our democracy by fighting brazen injustices and outright abuses, the APC government that prides itself as fighters of corruption have been trying hard to crumble this democracy.’’
On his part, a frontline PDP presidential aspirant, Turaki, condemned the Gestapo tactics unleashed on Saraki and Ekweremadu, adding that it was clearly a dangerous attempt to truncate Nigeria’s democracy.
Also reacting to the incident, a respected human rights organisation, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), said it was appalled at the rapid slide into ‘’anarchy, dictatorship and incivility’’ that Nigeria was being plunged by the current administration.
In a statement by its National President, Mr. Igho Akeregha, the group said the siege, by the police and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) on the Abuja residences of the Senate president and deputy Senate president was apparently ordered by the administration to avert defection of some senators who are dissatisfied with the growing undemocratic practices within the ruling APC.
‘’The CLO and indeed many Nigerians who made huge sacrifices to enthrone democracy are daily confronted with extreme brigandage and lawlessness promoted by the Buhari administration. Citizens should now stop this dangerous drift,’’ CLO stated, adding: “We similarly condemn the Executive and abhor its penchant to deploy state instrument of coercion against those who do not share its view as this behaviour if left unchecked, will inevitably destroy constitutionalism and the rule of law in the country.’’
Presidency: Let Security Agencies Do their Work
But in a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the Presidency had taken note of what he described as orchestrated campaign against Buhari each time a very important person (VIP) is invited by law enforcement agencies while discharging their legitimate duties and functions.
He was reacting to the invitation of Saraki by Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) in relation to the Offa robbery incident Tuesday.
According to him, the law of the land is intended for all and not for the poor or those at the lowest rungs of the social ladder, adding that it is odd, strange and bizarre that while ordinary citizens can be called up to answer questions or be interrogated, the VIP cannot be questioned without the annoying insinuations of partisanship, persecution or outright politicisation.
Shehu further said this country cannot achieve peace and development when important cases are viewed through a political prism while the law is considered as being applicable to some, and not applicable to others.
He added that the workings of law enforcement agencies were stipulated in both the constitution and the laws of the country, noting that if they work at the discretion of past presidents, who decided who to question and who to detain, Nigerians should get used to the fact that Buhari is different because he does not influence or interfere with cases.
The statement added: “The constitution clearly directs law enforcement agencies to promptly report and investigate any actual or potential infringement of the law and also initiate proceedings against all those involved.
“This president is not the one who directs them on what to do. President Buhari does not stand in the way of law enforcement either. Under our constitution, he has no powers to stop the investigation of anyone or institution. When they are set to investigate anything and anyone, the best friend of the law is the one who lets them do their work.
“The president’s constant refrain is that he will not tolerate any form of illegality including corruption and the law enforcement agencies have been given complete freedom to identify and bring all culprits to justice. His instructions to them are very clear: Anyone with a case to answer or found guilty should not be spared.
“Accused persons should approach the courts to plead their innocence rather than going to the public to plead persecution. The country is better served when the law enforcement agencies are allowed to do their work and we must stop the actors of this dangerous game of politicising law enforcement.”