The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday said the controversial arrest of some senior judges for alleged corruption was orchestrated by President Buhari and members of his party, the APC.
In a statement signed and distributed by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, the opposition party said Nigerians should see the recent clampdown on judges by the State Security Service as a vindictive measure taken by Mr. Buhari and the chairman of his party, John Oyegun.
Mr. Adeyeye said Mr. Buhari and Mr. Oyegun were desperate to avenge what they saw as unfair rulings handed down by some judges against them in the past.
Making specific reference to some past comments credited to Messrs. Buhari and Oyegun, the PDP said “it is obvious that the judiciary can be said to have functioned appropriately only when they and their party win a case.”
Mr. Adeyeye, speaking on behalf of the provisional national leadership of the PDP, said Mr. Buhari, earlier this year, allegedly decried the injustice meted out to him by some judges many years ago.
“On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now.
“In my first attempt in 2003, I ended up at the Supreme Court and for 13 months I was in court.
“The second attempt in 2007, I was in court close to 20 months and in 2011, my third attempt, I was also in court for nine months.
“All these cases went up to the Supreme Court until the fourth time in 2015, when God agreed that I will be President of Nigeria,” the PDP quoted Mr. Buhari as saying in February 2016.
The PDP said the allegations by two Supreme Court judges that the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, tried to induce them showed the depth of the administration’s contempt towards the judiciary.
Consequently, “we are not surprised with the mention of President Buhari in the statement by Justice Ngwuta because President Buhari has left no stone unturned to confirm the fact that he detests the judiciary and the rule of law as seen in his body language and actions since he assumed office,” Mr. Adeyeye said.
The PDP also accused Mr. Oyegun of conniving with Mr. Buhari to “derail our nascent democracy.”
The party said Mr. Oyegun bemoaned the outcome of the Rivers State election petition appeal —which affirmed the victory of Nyesom Wike— and vowed grave consequences for the judges.
“I still find the judgment on the Rivers State governorship election totally astonishing.
“There is something fundamentally wrong in the judiciary. We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP.
“No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country. There is obviously something fundamentally wrong in Rivers State which needs to be investigated and addressed,” the PDP quoted the APC chairman as saying.
“On this note, it has become clearer that the present ordeals of judges in the hands of President Buhari’s SSS are the fulfillment of a series of threats by President Buhari, Hon. Amaechi and Odigie-Oyegun,” Mr. Adeyeye said.
Mr. Oyegun did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comments Sunday night.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the presidency does not respond to PDP.
The PDP said “Nigeria’s democracy is indeed in grave danger” and called on civic organisations to rise and defend it.
“Nigeria is sliding aggressively into anarchy and this must not be allowed,” the party said.
The SSS accused the judges of corruption and said it recovered huge sums of questionable money in the October 7-8 raid.
The seven judges arrested have been released on bail but are yet to be charged to court.