By John Shiklam
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has said it is worried that “the current administration is becoming more and more intolerant of opposition and criticism and gradually dragging the country towards becoming a police state”.
In a statement on Sunday in Kaduna, the group said it was alarmed by reports that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has been invited by the Department of State Services (DSS) over the interview he granted a television station on the agenda of the National Consultative Front to bring about a new Nigeria that works for all.
The statement signed by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, spokesman of the group, said:
“The CNG finds it worrying that the current administration is becoming more and more intolerant of opposition and criticism and gradually dragging the country towards becoming a police state.
“We find this attempt to harass Na’Abbah, a senior citizen and critical stakeholder in the nation’s democratic process, a brutal encroachment on the universal citizens’ right to freedom of expression which is a fundamental characteristic of any democratic state.
“By its continuous attempt to suppress the existence of the right to freedom of expression which includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by the public authority, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is exposing its failure in sportsmanship, statesmanship and political craftsmanship.”
According to the statement, “It is ridiculous that those who run this government who happened to have benefited the most from the previous administration’s tolerant disposition should be the ones denying others the same right they enjoyed.
“The CNG repudiates this unhealthy, undemocratic trend of government’s exercise of power through security agencies to impose restrictions on citizens’ mobility, or on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views and hold it unacceptable.
“We insist that every Nigerian’s right to freedom of expression which is not only a primary cornerstone of democracy, but also prerequisite for the enjoyment of many of the other rights and freedoms ensured in our constitution and international conventions must be respected.
“We therefore find it absolutely unacceptable for a people who in no way bore the brunt of the struggle for the return to democracy to be hellbent now on scuttling it.”