- Accuses FG, APC of human rightsâ€™ violations
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has submitted a petition to the United Nations, alleging threat to democracy, rule of law, freedom and gross human rights violations by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government.
In a 55-paragraph letter signed by national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus and addressed to the Secretary General of the UN, the main opposition party chronicled all instances of alleged clampdown and human rights abuses targeted at members of the opposition by the federal government and its agents.
The alleged persecution ranges from illegal arrests, detention, biased prosecution and outright destruction of properties belonging to the opposition party and its members.
The party said the federal government had recently confirmed the persecution of opposition leaders in the guise of fighting corruption when it released a phantom list of alleged looters comprising only of persons who are members of the opposition PDP.
According to the opposition party, â€œthe federal government has shown unrivaled bias by arresting and hounded opposition personalities on phantom corruption allegation while ensuring that members of the ruling party and their associates who faced more serious indictment were left off the hook.
â€œEven persons who were facing criminal prosecution prior to the 2015 presidential elections who are now members of the ruling APC and other members of APC who are overtly known to be involved in known cases of corruption were excluded from the list, while persons who have never been charged with any crime and who in fact have not held any previous government portfolio including myself were listed as â€˜lootersâ€™.
â€œThe PDP is alerting the entire world of the increasing aggression and cruelty against opposition members and perceived opponents of government by the federal government, which is now using the apparatus of state power in their desperation to cow and subjugate opposition, suppress constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and association in our country.
â€œToday, there is thoughtless abuse of human rights in our country and the people now live in fear. Opposition members are now being arrested, manhandled and detained, with some of them having their family houses demolished for holding and expressing legitimate but divergent opinion even under a democracyâ€, it said
PDP also lamented that members and supporters in many states including Edo, Rivers Kaduna, Kogi, Borno, Adamawa, Delta and others were being hounded for expressing divergent political opinions, particularly on the exposed corruption, abuses, constitutional violations and alleged incompetence of the President Buhari administration.
It recounted an incident where the federal government sent over 100 heavily armed police and security personnel to abduct an unarmed serving Senator who is now lying critically ill at the National Hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained from the brutality of the police.
PDP said, â€œIt is imperative to bring to the attention of the world, the various constitutional violations and the unrelenting persecution, arrest, detention and harried trial of opposition members as well as perceived opponents of government, including innocent business concerns, apparently in pursuit of the grand plot to discredit and stifle the opposition in Nigeria.
â€œIn Kogi, Borno and Kaduna states, there are reports of the Government sponsoring agents to attack and destroy properties belonging to opposition members and supporters. The Governor of Kaduna state demolished a property belonging to an opposition member and perceived political opponent; the PDP secretariat in Borno state was demolished; whilst partyâ€™s properties and those of supporters were destroyed by agents of government in Adamawa state.
â€œAll notable opposition leaders are being harassed or hounded by security operatives using all manners of frivolous and vexatious allegations. Today, despite our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of association and speech, Nigerians now live in fear of this intolerant, overbearing, bigoted and dictatorial administration seeking to foist a fascist regime on our country.
â€œHow do we explain or justify the evil plan of the APC-led federal government to monitor citizensâ€™ phone calls and social media communication purportedly to check for hate speeches without any enabling law?â€
Secondus said: â€œI am constrained to bring to the attention of the United Nations what appears to be a predetermined and orchestrated plan by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria through various agencies including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigerian Police and other security organisations to truncate Nigeriaâ€™s democracy.
â€œThe President and his administration are too desperate to retain power against the wishes of the Nigerian people who are groaning under the yoke of the misrule of the government in the last three yearsâ€, he added.