The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, says recent revelations that President Muhammadu Buhari purportedly benefitted from the $2.2 billion arms deal funds and the subsequent controversy trailing his denial, has justified its call for the setting up of “a more neutral and transparent body like an Independent National Truth Commission”.
The PDP said the commission would be charged with examining all issues relating to handling of security votes and campaign funding without interferences from the government.
Earlier today, NGTrends reported that President Buhari was a trending topic on Twitter as Nigerians reacted to reports that he collected $300,000 and some SUVs from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the aftermath of Boko Haram Terrorists attack on his convoy last year in Kawo, Kaduna State.
The Presidency, however, denied that Buhari received any money from the former administration, adding that he only collected one armoured SUV and an untreated one, which were his statutory entitlements as a former Head of State.
Weighing in on the controversy Wednesday, the PDP said the leak that the president benefited from the ONSA against the convention of dealing with the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, also confirmed the fact that the war against corruption should be holistic, transparent and not politicized.
“We challenge this administration to a no-holds-barred public inquisition on all issues of security votes and campaign expenses. This is more so as we have evidence that President Buhari and the APC budgeted and spent billions of naira corruptly sourced for their presidential campaign, in addition to on-going sleazes in the system under the APC government”, a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh said.
“Furthermore, this current orchestrated and selective war against corruption should not be an excuse to justify the onslaught by the government against democratic institutions, especially the judiciary, wherein judicial officers are now being hounded and coerced in the desperation to take over key PDP states of Akwa-Ibom, Taraba and Rivers.
“Today’s Court of Appeal ruling against Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and our federal legislators are clear fall-out of President Buhari-led government’s muzzling of a section of the judiciary, a development that portends grave danger to our democracy and the much desired peace and stability in the volatile region of the Niger Delta, especially coming on the heels of APC induced violence that led to the inconclusiveness of the Bayelsa state governorship election.
“We are very worried that our country, now under the command of President Buhari, is gradually sliding into a police state with observed bloodthirsty tendencies by obviously compromised security operatives for which the citizens now live in fear.
“For instance, how can this government explain its indifference to the recent senseless bloodletting in Zaria, Kaduna state, where the military clashed with an Islamic group resulting in loss of lives, as well as the mindless attack and killing of some unarmed protesters in Onitsha, Anambra state, by security agents?
“Also embarrassing to democracy is the flouting of judicial pronouncements, the growing erosion of personal freedom, violation of fundamental rights of citizens and brutal manhandling of suspects facing various trials, as amply evidenced by the case of the former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who, while on bail was openly beaten by security operatives”, the statement said.
According to Metuh, these recent developments are in direct contrast to democratic environment created by the PDP in the last 16 years where the rule of law and freedom of citizens were allowed to reign.
The PDP spokesman noted that of utmost concern is the unprecedented and frightening polarization of the country, which he attributed to the undemocratic tendencies of the Buhari administration.
“In the last seven months of this dictatorial and divisive regime, there has been an alarming escalation of inter-and intra-religious and ethnic hostilities that clearly threaten national cohesion and stability.
“We therefore caution this government to come to terms with the fact that this nation cannot afford to contain, at this time, undue and avoidable pressure coming ceaselessly from its totalitarian tendencies and actions”, Metuh said.