Less than 24 hours to President Muhammadu Buhari’s scheduled meeting with the United States of America (USA) president, Donald Trump, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised anti-democratic issues and human rights abuse against the Nigerian leader.
The party specifically drew President Trump’s attention to the recent report of the US Department of State on constitutional and human rights violation in Nigeria under President Buhari.
”We, therefore, urge President Donald Trump to stand up for democracy and take President Buhari to task on constitutional and human rights violations in Nigeria under his watch,” PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said at a press conference yesterday.
Also, the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, in a statement by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi said Nigeria is now a police state under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ologbondiyan noted at the press conference that President Buhari’s administration has wrecked the nation’s democratic order, eroded constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens while foisting a siege mentality on the people.
“Nigeria is facing a perilous time; our constitution has been technically suspended; we have now become a police state; governance has reverted to the nightmares of the 1984 era when draconian leaders held sway and forcefully held our people under the grips of military Decree 2.
“Currently, there is a total collapse of respect for constitutionally guaranteed personal freedom; there is no regard for the natural course of justice, life in Nigeria is gradually returning to the state of nature and there is fear everywhere.
“Today, Nigerians are being hounded, arrested and directly detained on ‘order from above’, without warrant; citizens are locked up in dehumanizing detention centres without access to medical care and legal assistance, just for holding political opinions that run contrary to the views of those in power at the centre.
“There are preponderance instances of citizens’ detention in special police and military facilities for weeks, months and in some cases, many years without trial. Nigerians are daily falling victims of extreme torture, extra-judicial and arbitrary killings and mass burial by unrestrained agents of state security forces,” he stated.
He added that the Amnesty International (AI) 2017/2018 Human Rights report confirmed cases of extreme human right violations under the Buhari administration.
These, he cited to include extra-judicial execution, the forceful crackdown on peaceful demonstrators as witnessed in the South East between September 2017 and January 2018 as well as torture and killings in custody, adding that many of those who were arrested were still in detention without trial.
Ologbondoiyan noted that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ group that freely protested unmolested in 2014 and 2015 were today hounded and manhandled wherever and whenever they dare to come out on a peaceful protest.
“The recent US government’s report on human rights violation in Nigeria also confirmed cases of harassments, persecution of opposition, arrests, detention and extra-judicial killings under President Buhari’s administration.
“Indeed, the height of human rights abuse being witnessed in our country today is the worst in our national contemporary history.
“As we speak, government’s inaction and aloofness have led to escalation of killings in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Edo, Zamfara, Ekiti, Enugu, by insurgents and marauders, who are having a field day as the presidency has abandoned governance for 2019 re-election bid.
“Painfully, our democratic institutions, particularly the legislature, judiciary and even the media are being decapitated by dictatorial forces who are encouraged by the agents of the state at the centre.
“Let the truth be told! Nigeria is bleeding under President Buhari and the world must come to the rescue.
“We also pray that President Buhari will not use the occasion of his visit to President Trump to further de-market our nation as he has always done whenever he is outside the country on official assignment,” Ologbondoiyan added.
Secondus in the statement noted that the on-going clampdown on persons not in agreement with the views of government either in the opposition party òr within their APC fold is a clear evidence of the desperation of Buhari’s to suppress free speech and association which are indispensable requirements for democracy to flourish.
“Legislators are not safe, judges are living and working in fear; media are being harassed, security agencies have all become tools of oppression for the government. Dictatorial signs are all over the place threatening our democracy.
“Their intention is clear: to intimidate and frighten people from saying the truth. But they will never succeed because the huge sacrifice made to bring this democracy to this level by Nigerians is not for it to be destroyed cheaply.
“If governance in a democracy is associated with the delivery of dividends and after three years you have nothing to show, no amount of aggressive pressure and bullying will save such government in the hands of the voters.
“Democracy provides for a day of reckoning when we leaders must return to the people to renew our mandate, that hour has come and only a government that has nothing to show that resorts to intimidation and harassment of those telling them the truth,” he stated. (New Telegraph)