- The ruling party has been accused of moves to trample on the right to freedom of expression of Nigerians
- This allegation was made against the All Progressives Congress by the opposition party on Monday, April 4
- According to the PDP, the APC must know that Nigeria is a country practising democracy and that the nation belongs to all Nigerians
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday, April 4, alerted Nigerians on the clampdown of an Islamic cleric Sheikh Nuru Khalid by the All Progressives Congress-led administration.
The opposition, in a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said Sheikh Khalid was suspended and subsequently sacked for speaking truth to power on the "now exposed failure" of the APC's administration.
PDP also alleged that the ruling party's refusal to defend Nigerians from terrorists signals a dangerous trend of fascism in the country.
The statement seen by Legit.ng said that while the PDP refrains from delving into religious issues, the party cautions the APC to note that suppressing the concerns of citizens and resorting to fascist measures is an assault capable of triggering widespread social restiveness.
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Stating that such assault can lead to escalating the already tense situation in the country, Ologunagba warned the APC against seeing every criticism by the citizens as a rebellion, which it feels obliged to crush by all means.
"This is the character of fascism which is gradually and steadily creeping into our country under the APC and now deoxygenating our citizen’s exercise of their freedom of expression as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
"The clampdown on Sheikh Khalid is reminiscent of the days of the obnoxious Military Decree 4 of 1984, under General Muhammadu Buhari, as Head of State, when telling the truth was categorized as a crime. Those days are scaringly creeping back!"
Sheikh Khalid speaking the minds of millions of Nigerians
Also noting that the clerics in his sermon only expressed the frustration and concerns of millions of Nigerians across the country, the PDP said that citizens irrespective of religious, ethnic and political leanings are suffering.
He warned that the ruling APC must know that Nigeria is a country practising democracy and that this nation belongs to all Nigerians.
"Nigerians are not a conquered people who have no voice or aspiration, and that history is replete with the fact that no individual or group of individuals had ever subdued or conquered Nigerians at any time."
Sheikh Khalid: Buhari's aide finally breaks silence, opens up on what really led to cleric's sack
However, Lauretta Onochie, one of President Muhammadu Buhari's media aides, has cleared the air.
Onochie on Monday, April 3, revealed that Khalid was sacked for his inciting sermon, not necessarily for criticising her principal.
Abuja Imam speaks as he gets new appointment after being sacked
Meanwhile, Khalid had said the termination of his appointment by the mosque’s management committee was a necessary price he had to pay for identifying with the suffering masses and speaking the truth to power.
Sheikh Khalid said this when he spoke with journalists in Abuja on Monday night, adding that he was undeterred by his sack.
He also disclosed that he has been appointed by the management committee of a new Jum’mat Mosque behind the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) Quarters, Abuja, to lead the congregation with effect from Friday, April 8.