The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the PDP-led Federal Government of engaging in a systematic harassment of members of the opposition party, while at the same time shielding accused Boko Haram sponsor Ali Modu Sheriff from the law.
In a statement issued in Ilorin on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party specifically condemned the harassment and intimidation of Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje of the APC during a visit to his constituency in Gombe this week.
It said even though Senator Goje had alerted the police authorities in the state of his visit and was provided with security, in the course of the visit, the policemen attached to him were suddenly withdrawn while he was directed to cut short his engagements to answer a summon by His Majesty the state Commissioner of Police.
”Shocked at the action, the Senator decided to conclude his visit, which included a meeting with his constituents, but the policemen stampeded him out of the venue. His attempt to stop over for another condolence visit was thwarted by the police, who stopped his convoy at every turn, as he made his way from Deba to Gombe Town, just to embarrass him.
”When he finally arrived at Gombe Town, he went to see the Commissioner of Police, where he was kept for three hours in what amounted to an illegal detention. When the Commissioner of Police finally saw the Senator, he warned him to cut his convoy to only two vehicles, without explaining why he withdrew the Senator’s police security, why he detailed policemen to harass him or why he detained him for three hours.
”This action is totally wrong and unacceptable. The police is a national institution that is maintained by tax payers, and it cannot afford to turn itself to the enforcement arm of the ruling PDP, no matter the temptation,” APC said.
The party said that as former the Governor and serving Senator Goje was being tormented, another former Governor and ex-Senator, Ali Modu Sheriff, was landing in Maiduguri, where the federal authorities provided him with massive security, including four truck-loads of soldiers led by a Lieutenant-Colonel, about 50 SSS personnel, hordes of policemen and two armoured tanks to escort him from the airport to his residence, which was also secured by armed troops and policemen.
”In the first instance, what qualified Sheriff, an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, for such a massive security while another Governor and a serving Senator was subjected to incredible indignity? Why has the FG continued with its harassment and intimidation of opposition members, which played out massively during the Ekiti and Osun elections when many of them were arrested and detained without reason? Why has the FG continued to abuse national institutions in an unprecedented manner?
”In any case, has the special treatment given to Sheriff by the federal authorities not shown that he indeed has a special relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan, who made sure he (Sheriff) was part of his entourage during his visit to Chadian President Idriss Deby to discuss the Boko Haram terrorism, despite the bare-face lies by the Presidency? Do Nigerians still expect the same FG that is pampering Sheriff to seriously investigate his alleged sponsorship of Boko Haram? Is it not clear now that President Jonathan is himself sabotaging his government’s fight against Boko Haram, on the altar of electoral desperation, by hobnobbing with an alleged sponsor of the terrorist group?” APC queried.
The party said while the Jonathan Administration is free to make itself a laughing stock by shielding Sheriff from justice and even bestowing special privileges on the accused, it should desist from abusing its powers by constantly using the police and the military to torment the opposition.
”We are documenting all the abuses and in the fullness of time, we will present such to the nation as well as the international community to show the level of political intolerance, abuse of national institutions and the abridgment of citizens’ constitutional rights that are taking place under a democratically-elected government,” it said.