Tinubu slams Jonathan over Rivers shooting

Former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu

The APC leader says Jonathan’s government executes coup against democracy

A leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has said the disruption of the rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement, SRM,  in Rivers State during which a senator, Magnus Abe, was allegedly shot by the police, has added another dimension to the dangerous course the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has charted.

Mr. Tinubu said rather than assuring liberty and democracy, the Jonathan administration has declared war against human rights and the democratic freedom of the people to select their own leaders.

He said the dimension to governance represented a sad rush backwards into a past best left behind and that Mr. Jonathan now sought to forfeit the nation’s democratic future to reclaim a dictatorial past.

A rally organized by the SRM in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday morning was disrupted by the police who allegedly shot Mr. Abe while Tony Okocha, the Chief of Staff to Governor Chibuike Amaechi was wounded. The lawmaker has been flown abroad for treatment.

The police have since denied the shooting.

“The people of Rivers State and of the Save Rivers Movement did nothing wrong.  What the police did was criminal. The violent and direct attack on Senator Magnus Abe is a frontal assault against democracy,” Mr. Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, said.

“The Jonathan government, which is supposed to protect the public order, now constitutes threats against the very thing they have pledged to uphold. The Police have been unleashed against the people and the voice of dissent like bloodhounds against a defenseless, stationary prey.

“What so incensed them that they felt compelled to shoot and beat unarmed fellow citizens whose only defense was their voice and whose only offense was their political affiliation was not of the federal government’s choosing,” he added.

The APC leader said if the reports of the incidents were true, the attack on Mr. Abe and brutal confrontation with the people who were first and foremost bonafide citizens of Nigeria and then members of the APC was condemnable.

According to him, “It is a harrowing sign of even more brutal repression that is to come and thus must be denounced.

“The Jonathan Presidency is willing to sacrifice the lives of countless Nigerians so that it can continue to lord it over Nigerians.

“If they could shoot a current Senator in broad daylight on a Sunday imagine the mayhem they will set upon the average citizen seeking to advance his political rights.”

He said the incident was a premeditated act to squash public dissent and frighten the rank and file of the political opposition.  He said that the purpose was not to govern Nigeria, but to break down the rule of law and the democratic institutions so that they might own Nigeria.

Stating that Nigeria had similar experience in the past, the former Lagos governor said he regretted that Nigeria was returning to a time, where having an independent mind or voice is a criminal offense.

He pointed out that though Nigerians were supposed to live in a constitutional democracy, they were now burdened with a police force that had now become an agent provocateur and a tool of repression.

“They (police) are the partisan, strong-arm division of the Jonathan Presidency. The Police are no longer a neutral law enforcement body,” he stressed.

“The people’s rights to freedom of association, expression and liberty are constitutionally guaranteed, but have been effectively curtailed by the Jonathan led government.

“The people have the inalienable right to choose or associate with any political party of their choice.

“Sadly, a Presidency that was a major beneficiary of constitutional democracy conspires in Abuja in to desecrate our political rights and mortgages our democracy,” he said.

Mr. Tinubu accused the president of sponsoring violence.

According to him, “It is a deep tragedy that the public’s money is being used to employ people and weapons to shoot at the public. This is the depths of political immorality.”

Stating that under the Jonathan government, Nigeria was moving towards fascism, the APC leader assured that the party and the people would employ every lawful means to protect the lives and rights of every Nigerian in the lawful exercise of their political rights.

He challenged the members of the National Assembly to rise to their statutory responsibility in defence of the people’s rights and to exercise legislative oversight of the Executive including the police.

“If the Assembly does not rise at this juncture, things will only worsen and at some point they will be forced to confront the violent misbehavior of a government intent on perpetuating itself.

“It is better that the Assembly acts now before so much harm is done that it becomes irreversible. Let the National Assembly be seen as coming to the rescue of those who elected them that they may prove heroic and patriotic at a time such as this,” he said.

Mr. Tinubu urged Nigerians to set themselves in vocal and sure opposition to the authoritarian evolution of the Jonathan administration.

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