Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of planning to arrest at least 50 members of the opposition before the end of December on phantom charges of corruption.
The party said the aim of the arrest is to deceive Nigerians that the failed anti-corruption war is still on course even though it has nothing to do with corruption but the scheming for the 2019 general election.
In a statement issued wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye, PDP claimed that already, five of its members have been illegally arrested and detained by the EFCC without any charge preferred against them.
â€œWe wish to draw the attention of Nigerians to the continued harassment of our party members by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari, for no justifiable reason.
â€œThe latest needless onslaught against our party members is the plan by the APC government at the centre to incarcerate 50 members of our party before the end of this year with a view to using their arrests to deceive Nigerians that the failed anti-corruption war is still on course,â€ it said.
PDP also alleged, â€œthat the dirty job, have been handed over to the compromised anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)â€.
â€œAlready, five members of our party have been illegally arrested and detained by the EFCC without any charge preferred against them.
â€œWho the rest 45 members to be picked up are, we cannot say in the immediate. However, we are by no means scared of the persecution by the Buhari administration as we are sure that the daylight is about to break after the dark night of the APC administration.
â€œWe wish to state clearly that what is ongoing under the Buhari administration is not a fight against corruption but an attempt at using members of the PDP as scapegoats and cover up for the ineffectual anti-corruption agenda of the current government.
â€œThe current wave of arrests, therefore, has nothing to do with the failed anti-corruption war but everything to do with the 2019 elections. Having failed on all itâ€™s major election planks and with nothing to show for its over thirty months in office, the APC government has come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent its inevitable defeat at the polls in 2019 is to hound, harass, intimidate and suppress members of our party into submission.
â€œHowever we wish to state clearly that irrespective of what the APC government does in an attempt at bringing the PDP down to its knees, we shall remain irrepressible and will not bow to any tyranny. The APC has already thrown away its chances in the 2019 elections by its non-performance. No amount of intimidation and harassment of the opposition will improve its fortunes.
â€œWe call on all men and women of goodwill to rise up to challenge the invidious attempt of the APC government to turn Nigeria into a Gestapo state and undermine our hard earned democracy on the altar of political desperation,â€ PDP said.