THERE was outrage yesterday over the barring of All Progressives Congress (APC) governors from attending the final campaign rally of Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Fayemi and other APC leaders who made it to the rally described the situation as a descent to dictatorship.
They urged Nigerians to resist moves by the federal government to use security operatives to undermine governors and subvert the will of the citizens.
“A situation where governors and other citizens can no longer move freely in the country is highly condemnable. This is the height of intolerance.
“What has happened to freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of choice, which are well entrenched in the constitution of the country?, they queried.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar warned against turning the country into a police state.
In a statement yesterday by his media office, Atiku noted that the action of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – led federal government stopping the governors of Rivers and Edo from attending rally in a Gestapo-like manner, was capable of turning Nigeria into a Banana Republic where fundamental rights of citizens are trampled upon with impunity.
The former vice president was miffed at the way the federal government had been dragging the military and police into politics, saying “the government must stop instigating state security agents paid from tax payers’ money against helpless, hapless and law-abiding Nigerians”.
To the nation’s security agencies, Atiku said: “Our gallant military men should remain focused on securing and protecting the territorial integrity of our great nation, especially in this time of terror attacks and insurgency across the country.”
“A government that deprives its citizens from access to jobs and education as manifested by the on-going closure of some tertiary institutions, such as polytechnics, to be shut for nearly a year, has alienated itself from the masses and will definitely suffer the repercussion at the polls, use of force or not.”
He said the only viable alternative to the PDP-led government is the APC, which he described as a prescription for socio-political peace, progress, equity, security, unity and national development.
Lagos lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) advised governors whose movement was restricted by security agencies to approach the courts for the enforcement of their right to freedom of movement and other fundamental human rights.
In a statement titled “The militarisation of democracy in Ekiti State”, the rights activist advised the governors to approach the high courts to ask for a perpetual injunction to restrain the federal government and its agencies from further abusing their right to freedom of movement.
He remarked that the government had continued to perpetuate the inhuman act against the governors because they failed to challenge the action in law courts.
He remarked that with the deployment of over 30,000 military and paramilitary forces, Ekiti State had been fully militarized in readiness for the war against the forces of democracy, adding: “Not unexpectedly, the peace-loving people of Ekiti State are being terrorised by the armed troops even though it is said that they are on ground to prevent any breakdown of law and order during the governorship election fixed for Saturday, June 21, 2014.
“I wish the same number of troops had been mobilised and deployed in each of the states in the northeast zone to fight the menace of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, “ he said.
Members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers State chapter, expressed shock on soldiers’ ambush of Amaechi at Olorunsogo-Ilado, Ondo State, on his way to Ekiti State for the rally.
ALGON Chairman Oji Ngofa with whom were other members of the association, at a news conference in Port Harcourt, threatened to go to court over the soldiers “lawlessness and attack” on the governor.
Ngofa noted that it was the third time that such an unfortunate treatment would be meted out to Amaechi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
ALGON in Rivers said: “For persons who are using the constitution now against fellow citizens of Nigeria, they will still need to fall back on the same constitution for their protection.”
Source/ THE NATIONS Short URL: http://www.osundefender.org/?p=172884