Buhari Warns FG To Stop Harassing & Intimidating Political Opponents
A former Head of State and chief of the All Progressives Congress, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday warned the Federal Government against harassing and intimidating perceived political opponents.
Buhari, who featured on the English service of the Liberty FM Radio, Kaduna, made specific mention of the detention of APC’s Interim Secretary, Nasir el-Rufai, and the arrest of the sons of Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, for money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Buhari, who also said that the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2015 elections was subject to modification by political parties, argued that el-Rufai’s comment on the poll was an exercise of his constitutional right to freedom of speech.
He told the Federal Government to realise that Nigerians were now much more aware of their rights and what they expected from it.
Buhari said, “All we are fighting for now is to have proper democracy. What I mean is that whatever people say, whether they reflect briefly on it or not, Nigerians are now well aware of their rights and what they expect from the government.
“What they (Nigerians) are doing is to fight for true democracy in the country. They want free and fair elections in the country in 2015.”
He wondered why the State Security Service would invite and detain el-Rufai, who was also a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, for the same comment others had made but were left to walk freely on the streets.
The APC leader was apparently referring to the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Mujahedeen Asari-Dokubo, who had warned in September 2013 that there would be bloodshed if Jonathan lost in 2015.
He had said that Niger Delta compatriots would not succumb to any force opposed to Jonathan’s presidential ambition which, according to him, was already settled.
He had said, “The way things are going, there is no sitting on the fence in the battle before us. When some people say they have a right to rule and others don’t have, then there is no sitting on the fence. All of us will have to be in the ring and fight. We cannot leave Goodluck (Jonathan) alone.
“Whether they contest or they don’t. If they say the blood of the dogs and the baboons will be soaked in the streets, we will help them to soak blood in the streets.”
But Buhari said, “We have to properly secure and manage this country. You cannot deny some citizens their rights to express their own opinion and yet allow some to brazenly threaten the cooperate existence of the country without inviting and asking them to explain themselves. Some of those people are given a ride in presidential jets.
“When others do it, government locks them up or harass them. That is not the way to do things. The government must stop harassing those in opposition parties.”
On the arrest and prosecution of Lamido’s sons, the former Head of State noted that if such could happen to them, the fate of the children of ordinary Nigerians was not guaranteed.