A statement released yesterday, by the Nigerian opposition party, PDP, warned the ruling party, APC to stop arresting its members who criticise their government. PDP is alleging that a good number of APC state governors have got some PDP members arrested for criticising them.
The statement read;
''The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, CON has been drawn to the untoward, unconstitutional and indiscriminate arrest and detention of PDP members and supporters nationwide on phantom charges by the Government of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
2. For emphasis, on the 4th of February, 2017, the Chapter Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jigawa State, Mr. Salisu Mamuda was arrested for criticizing the Jigawa State Government against spending the Sum of N400,000,000 (Four Hundred Million Naira Only) to entertain defectors from PDP to APC.
3. Nigerians will also recall that Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, a Governorship Aspirant on the Platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 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 the Forex racketeering by the APC led Government at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
4. Also on March 3, 2017, Alhaji Abdulrahman Mohammed, a PDP Chieftain Kogi State was arrested on trump-up charges and detained illegally for criticizing the wrong policies, misgovernance, and non-performance of Governor Yahaya Bello.
5. Just yesterday, April 9, 2017, Mr. Austin Usman Okai, a PDP Youth leader and frontline critic of the Yahaya Bello's APC-led Government in Kogi State was arrested by men of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squared (SARS) on phantom petitions by some cronies of the Governor.
6. There are also reports of indiscriminate arrest and detention of citizens of this Country in Kaduna, Edo, Nasarawa amongst others at both the Federal and state levels controlled by the Ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
7. These actions of the Ruling Party, the APC is absurd, disheartening and a serious threat to our hard earned democracy. Nigerians cannot and should not be arrested and detained indiscriminately for criticizing and holding government accountable. Constructive criticism is the primary responsibility of opposition in a democracy all over the world and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
8. We have also been alerted to the news of the Federal Government of Nigeria planning to tap mobile telephone lines and hacking of other devices of citizens as a way of harassing and intimidating them into silence.
9. These and other unholy practices of this administration will henceforth be resisted by all Nigerians. We will mobilize Nigerians at all levels to fight against the use of arms in a democratic system to ridicule and intimidate citizens of this Country. We will no longer tolerate this high handedness of the APC and we, therefore, demand the unconditional and immediate release of Mr. Austin Usman Okai and all our members in several detention centers of security agencies across the Country.
10. Finally, we wish to use this medium to inform world leaders on the serious issues of human rights violation in Nigeria since the APC Administration took over power on May 29, 2015. We call on all civil rights organization across the Country and in the Diaspora to rise to this occasion. Our democracy is in serious danger and the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) must be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order as a result of these undemocratic behaviours.
Long live the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!''