The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is to hold an enlarged National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting over the intimidation and arrest of its members by the Federal Government.
It said the safety, personal freedom and well-being of Nigerians, particularly, opposition members, are no longer guaranteed. The party also advised the Federal Government to hold consultations with stakeholders over plan to establish cattle ranches in some parts of the country.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press conference yesterday, alleged clampdown on opposition leaders and perceived opponents of the President Muhammadu Buhari by the Federal Government. According to him, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is now deploying every machination to cause confusion, heighten political tension by hounding and arresting of opposition leaders on spurious allegations.
“There are fears and trepidation everywhere. The safety, personal freedom and well-being of Nigerians, particularly, opposition members, are no longer guaranteed,” Ologbondiyan stated.
The PDP spokesperson noted that part of the plot is to link opposition leaders and dissenting voices with the widespread killings in various parts of the country, forgetting that President Buhari had earlier blamed the attacks on invaders from late Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, while Director General of Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, blamed it on herdsmen from neighbouring countries.
“Having failed in their corruption smear campaign against the PDP and many notable Nigerians, the APC and the presidency cabal have now devised a devious machination to rope in, frame up, implicate and ultimately incarcerate marked opposition leaders and other dissenting voices over fabricated security charges.
“The wicked clampdown has started. Only on Wednesday, we were made aware of the arrest and detention of former Benue State governor, Hon. Gabriel Suswam, who has been kept incommunicado without access to his lawyers, while the Federal Government is not forthcoming with the details of the reasons behind the arrest and detention.
“However, we know that his arrest and detention is intended to put him out of circulation, so that he will not take part in the mega meetings of our party planned for the North Central states,” Ologbondiyan said.
He expressed the fears that other opposition leaders and dissenting voices have been placed under watch and would be dragged in and framed up on security charges, so as to keep them out of circulation ahead of the elections. Ologbondiyan recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had earlier raised alarm of alleged plots by the Buhari administration to frame, arrest and detain him indefinitely on trumped up charges, attributing it to his criticisms and open rejection of the administration for its failures and manifest misrule.
“The world is also aware of the numerous alleged plots by the APC and its Federal Government to frame up and humiliate Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremmadu, Senators Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani, as well as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti counterpart, Governor Ayodele Fayose.
“Also, there are concerns about the safety of former Chief of Army Staff and former Defence Minister, Gen. Theophilus Y. Danjuma (rtd), following the fear expressed by Wike that Gen. Danjuma’s life might be in danger after his comments in March, this year, on possible complicity of the State in the killings in Taraba State. “Only on Wednesday, an explosive device was discovered at the Ebonyi State PDP secretariat, either planted to blow up our secretariat and kill our members or to set up our leaders.
“These attacks, threats and intimidation targeted at influential Nigerians, particularly, past leaders, show clearly that the APC and the Buhari presidency are very scared of their inevitable defeat in the 2019 general elections and now seek to apply all machinations to overheat the polity and ostensibly frustrate the process,” he added. He disclosed that the PDP NEC meeting would take “far-reaching decision on the next line of action, within the ambit and the provisions of the law, regarding the harassments and intimidations of citizens under the Buhari administration.”
On ranches, PDP noted that the situation has already generated discordant tunes and acrimony among major stakeholders, groups and states across the country, particularly relating to issues of funding and land ownership.
“The PDP is particularly worried by the lack of adequate consultations by the Federal Government resulting in the disagreements that have trailed the plan, especially along ethnic divides,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to get its acts together and follow all due processes, as stipulated by the laws and 1999 Constitution (as amended) regarding this issue, in order to eliminate the current disagreements being generated, adding that the nation has witnessed enough disagreements, violence and bloodletting.