The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s denial that he benefitted from funds relating to the arms deal scandal, and the consequent controversy trailing it, underscores the need for a more neutral and transparent body like an Independent National Truth Commission to examine all issues relating to handling of security votes and campaign funding without interferences from the government.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh on Wednesday said the leak that President Buhari benefited from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, against the convention of dealing with the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, also stresses the fact that the war against corruption should be holistic, transparent and not politicized.
“We challenge this administration to a no-holds-barred public inquisition on all issues of security votes and campaign expenses. This is more so as we have evidence that President Buhari and the APC budgeted and spent billions of naira corruptly sourced for their presidential campaign, in addition to on-going sleazes in the system under the APC government.
“Furthermore, this current orchestrated and selective war against corruption should not be an excuse to justify the onslaught by the government against democratic institutions, especially the judiciary, wherein judicial officers are now being hounded and coerced in the desperation to take over key PDP states of Akwa-Ibom, Taraba and Rivers.
“Today’s Court of Appeal ruling against Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and our federal legislators are clear fall-out of President Buhari-led government’s muzzling of a section of the judiciary, a development that portends grave danger to our democracy and the much desired peace and stability in the volatile region of the Niger Delta, especially coming on the heels of APC induced violence that led to the inconclusiveness of the Bayelsa state governorship election.
“We are very worried that our country, now under the command of President Buhari, is gradually sliding into a police state with observed bloodthirsty tendencies by obviously compromised security operatives for which the citizens now live in fear.
“For instance, how can this government explain its indifference to the recent senseless bloodletting in Zaria, Kaduna state, where the military clashed with an Islamic group resulting in loss of lives, as well as the mindless attack and killing of some unarmed protesters in Onitsha, Anambra state, by security agents?
“Also embarrassing to democracy is the flouting of judicial pronouncements, the growing erosion of personal freedom, violation of fundamental rights of citizens and brutal manhandling of suspects facing various trials, as amply evidenced by the case of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who, while on bail was openly beaten by security operatives.
“We note that these developments are in direct contrast to democratic environment created by the PDP in the last 16 years where the rule of law and freedom of citizens were allowed to reign.
“Of utmost concern is the unprecedented and frightening polarization of the country coming as direct consequence of the undemocratic tendencies of the Buhari administration. In the last seven months of this dictatorial and divisive regime, there has been an alarming escalation of inter-and intra-religious and ethnic hostilities that clearly threaten national cohesion and stability.
“We therefore caution this government to come to terms with the fact that this nation cannot afford to contain, at this time, undue and avoidable pressure coming ceaselessly from its totalitarian tendencies and actions.”