National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it described as unlawful arrest of its members across the country, by security agents, on alleged trumped-up charges.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, yesterday, the PDP said actions of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government is threat to the nation’s democracy
The party insisted “it is wrong to arrest and detain Nigerians indiscriminately for criticising and holding the government accountable,” and noted that “constructive criticism is the primary responsibility of the opposition in a democracy all over the world.
“For emphasis, on February 4, 2017, chapter chairman of the PDP in Jigawa, Mr. Salisu Mamuda was arrested for criticising the state government of spending N400,000,000 to entertain defectors from PDP to APC.
“Nigerians will also recall that Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, PDP governorship aspirant, in Lagos State, during the 2015 guber election, was arrested by men of the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS), on February 17, 2017, on account of exposing alleged forex racketeering at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Also, on March 3, 2017, Alhaji Abdulrahman Mohammed, a PDP chieftain in Kogi State, was arrested on trumped-up charges and detained illegally for criticising policies, governance and performance of Governor Yahaya Bello.
“On April 9, 2017, Mr. Austin Usman Okai, a PDP youth leader and critic of Bello’s government was arrested by men of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squared (SARS) on some petitions, in Kogi.
“There were also reports of indiscriminate arrest and detention of citizens in Kaduna, Edo, Nasarawa states, amongst others…”
The opposition party called on civil society organisations within and outside the country, and in the Diaspora, “to rise to the occasion” and vowed to “mobilise Nigerians to fight against use of arms to intimidate citizens.
“We will no longer tolerate this high handedness of the APC and we, therefore, demand the unconditional and immediate release of Okai and all our members in several detention centers of security agencies across the country.
“…Our democracy is in serious danger and the APC leadership must be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order, as a result of these undemocratic behaviours,” the party added.