As President Muhammadu Buhari begins his official visit to the United States of America on Sunday (today), the Peoples Democratic Party has drawn the attention of President Donald Trump to alleged constitutional and human rights violations in Nigeria.
Also, the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Uche Secondus, on Saturday, accused Buhari of running a “police state”, warning that clamping down on those with opposing views was capable of truncating democracy.
Addressing journalists at a press conference on the state of the nation in Abuja, the spokesman for the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiya, urged Trump to stand up for democracy and take Buhari to task on constitutional and human rights violations in Nigeria under his watch.
Lamenting that the nation had become a police state, he said Buhari had taken the country back to what it was in 1984, when the military under Buhari, took over the government violently.
Ologbondiyan said Buhari’s administration had destroyed the nation’s democratic order and eroded constitutionally- guaranteed rights of citizens, while foisting a siege mentality on the people.
He said, “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 the 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 dehumanising 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 centre.”
Citing the recent United States Department of States report, which alleged cases of extreme human rights violations under the Buhari administration, Ologbondiyan called on Trump to ask Buhari questions on the way he runs his government.
He added, “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 and Enugu by insurgents and marauders, who are having a field day as the Presidency has abandoned governance for 2019 reelection bid.”
Secondus, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Ike Aboyi, said nobody “is safe again in Nigeria under President Buhari. “
The PDP chairman, however, said Nigerians would never surrender their sovereignty to an individual.
He added, “Legislators are not safe, judges are living and working in fear; the media are being harassed, security agencies have all become tools of oppression for the government. Dictatorial signs are all over the place, threatening our democracy.”
Meanwhile, American companies in Nigeria have advised that infrastructure development and intelligence on counter-terrorism should be part of the agenda of Buhari’s meeting with his US counterpart.
The companies are operating under the auspices of the American Business Council, an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce.