The main opposition political party in Nigeria, People’s Democratic Party recently said that the present administration in the country has wrecked our democratic order.
The party, at Press briefing on the state of the nation added that the present government, being led by President Muhammadu Buhari has eroded constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens while foisting a siege mentality on our people.
According to the party, “Nigeria is now on the brink.”
Read the full text of the Press conference addressed by PDP on the state of the nation below:
As you are aware, President Muhammadu Buhari is on his way to the United States, the home of democracy, whereas back home in Nigeria his administration has completely wrecked our democratic order, eroded constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens while foisting a siege mentality on our people.
We have called you here to alert the entire world, particularly, the United States, that our nation is now on the brink.
Nigeria is facing a perilous time; our constitution has been technically suspended; we have now become a Police State; governance has reverted to the nightmares of the 1984 era, when draconian leaders held sway and forcefully held our people under the grips of military Decree 2.
Currently, there is a total collapse of respect for constitutionally guaranteed personal freedom; there is no regard for natural course of justice, life in Nigeria is gradually returning to the state of nature and there is fear everywhere.
Today, Nigerians are being hounded, arrested and directly detained on ‘order from above’, without warrant; citizens are locked up in dehumanizing detention centres without access to medical care and legal assistance, just for holding political opinions that run contrary to the views of those in power at the center.
There are preponderance instances of citizens’ detention in special police and military facilities for weeks, months and in some cases, many years without trial. Nigerians are daily falling victims of extreme torture, extra-judicial and arbitrary killings and mass burial by unrestrained agents of state security forces.
You will recall that the 2017/2018 Amnesty International (AI) Human Rights Report confirmed cases of extreme human right violations under the Buhari administration, including extra-judicial execution, forceful crackdown on peaceful protesters as particularly witnessed in the southeast between September 2017 and January 2018 as well as torture and killings in custody. Many arrested protesters are still in detention without trial.
The Bring Back our Girls organization that freely protested unmolested in 2014 and 2015 are today hounded and manhandled wherever and whenever they dare to come to out on a peaceful protest.
The recent US Government’s report on human rights violation in Nigeria also confirmed cases of harassments, persecution of opposition, arrests, detention and extra-judicial killings under President Buhari’s administration. Indeed, the height of human rights abuse being witnessed in our country today is the worst in our national contemporary history.
As we speak, government’s inaction and aloofness have led to escalation of killings in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Edo, Zamfara, Ekiti, Enugu by insurgents and marauders, who are having a field day as the Presidency has abandoned governance for 2019 re-election bid.
Painfully, our democratic institutions, particularly the legislature, judiciary and even the media are being decapitated by dictatorial forces who are encouraged by the agents of the state at the center.
You will all recall that on April 18, 2018, that a barefaced and historical attempt was made to shut down our National Assembly following lawmakers’ insistence on following due process in governance and government business.
We all are witnesses to how security architecture at the National Assembly was compromised by agents of the state, to allow a wanton gang of men to invade the hallowed chambers of the Senate in broad daylight to harass and threaten senators, disrupting proceedings and carting away the mace.
It is evident that the assault was aimed at intimidating the legislature to prevent it from freely checking the excesses of the executive arm, especially on the issue of extra-budgetary, unconstitutional expenditure and grave insecurity in the country.
As we speak, the culprits are working the street free and no arrest has been made, further strengthening the fact that the perpetrators of this dastardly act operated under the protection and collusion of the state.
You will also recall that we had earlier raised an alarm about plots to frame up compatriots including some outspoken members of the National Assembly, leaders of the opposition and individuals perceived to hold the intentions of contesting political offices, especially the presidency in 2019.
In spite of our alarm, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senators Aliyu Wamakko, Rabiu Kwankwaso, David Mark, Dino Melaye, Albert Akpan, Godswill Akpabio, Danjuma Goje, Peter Nwoboshi, Isah Misau and Shehu Sani as well as former governors Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shema, Babangida Aliyu and others have all come under intense harassment, intimidation and outright breach of their fundamental rights over trumped-up charges.
As you may be aware, former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema is being tried on the same matter in three different courts of coordinate jurisdiction with the view to manipulating judicial process to nail him at all cost.
Stunningly, a serving senator, Senator Dino Melaye, who has been outspoken in highlighting the violations and excesses of the Buhari’s administration accountable, has now became the butt of this government’s human rights abuse for daring to demand transparency and due diligence in the conduct of government business.
Senator Dino was disgracefully manhandled, whisked and chained like a common criminal; his home besieged for two nights while his family relations, friends and even his counsel were randomly arrested and detained in several detention centers in Abuja, some of them without being arraigned before any court of law.
Two of the lawyers representing Senator Melaye; Pius Udo-Inyang and David Amaefule of Messers Rickey Tarfa and co are still languishing in illegal detention for attempting to defend Senator Melaye.
As you already know, opposition parties and holders of dissenting voices in the APC have come under heavy attacks including arrests, detention and even demolition of their houses and offices in various parts of the country. This happened in Kaduna, Adamawa, Borno, Kogi, Nasarawa states among others.
To achieve a total subjugation, there has been constant harassment and threats on judicial officers, some of them already compromised to circumvent judicial processes against opposition and perceived political opponents of government.
Since the 2016 sting operation on the Supreme Court and High Court judges by agents of the Directorate of State Services (DSS), the judiciary in Nigeria has remained under siege and its freedom, now largely curtailed by executive arm.
In the same vein, the media has also been under severe intimidation and harassment by the state. There have been concerted efforts by the government to gag the media leading to the arrest, manhandling of journalists and invasion of media houses over reports considered unfavorable to government.
In the last three years, under the Buhari administration, press freedom has dipped with our country now ranking as one of the most hostile to the media.
The 2017 World Press Freedom ranking compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows that Nigeria’s press freedom record has drastically dropped to 122 out of 180 countries graded in 2017.
Covering government business is gradually becoming a restricted area in our country. Last year, security agents invaded the Premium Times office in Abuja and arrested members of the editorial staff for publishing a story considered unfavorable to government interest.
Furthermore, government’s monumental nepotic actions and President Buhari’s body language and comments have been encouraging religious and ethnic tendencies with dangerous consequences in our body polity if not checked.
Nigerians are therefore miffed that in the face of these violations and turmoil at home, President Buhari is going to the United States, the home of democracy, to be received by democrats whereas he is doing everything humanly possible including the breakdown of our laws to truncate our hard earned democracy.
We therefore urge President Donald Trump to stand up for democracy and take President Buhari to task on constitutional and human rights violations in Nigeria under his watch, as already detailed in the report by the US Department of State.
We also urge all international organizations, particularly, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take note of the horrendous situation in our country and spare no energy in intervening to stem this ugly trend.
Let the truth be told! Nigeria is bleeding under President Buhari and the world must come to the rescue. We also pray that President Buhari will not use the occasion of his visit to President Trump to further de-market our nation as he has always done whenever he is outside the country on official assignment.