*Alleges intimidating search at Abuja Airport
*Accuses agents of govt of masterminding the search
*PDP, others protest action of security agents
*Plans to drop implicating things in his aircraft unsuccessful – Timi Frank
By Mike Odiakose
The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar returned to the country from a trip to Dubai yesterday alleging that he was intimidating searched by security agents at the airport.
In a tweet, Atiku said “I arrived to Abuja this morning (yesterday) to a search by agents of the state, aimed at intimidating me and my staff. I am committed to building a Nigeria where no citizen is intimidated by agents of state who are paid to protect them,” he said in the tweet.
It would be recalled that Abubakar has been away in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates capital, since mid-October when he proceeded on a vacation days after emerging victorious at the national convention of the PDP, Nigeria’s main opposition platform.
However, the PDP presidential candidate did not immediately say which security agencies were responsible for the search he found objectionable.
He also did not say whether or not the security personnel raised any issues during or after conducting their search.
Meanwhile, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC Comrade Timi Frank, has revealed that a plot to embarrass the People Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on arrival early hours on Sunday from Dubai was a failure.
Frank said Atiku, who returned to Nigeria around 1am on Sunday morning from his vacation in Dubai was thoroughly searched by a Special Squad of security men deployed by the presidency for some hours with recording gadgets on them and in and around Atiku’s aircraft saying “Nothing, was however found on him or in his aircraft.”
According to Frank, plan to also drop bags of foreign currencies and other implicating things in Atiku’s aircraft on his arrival was also unsuccessful.
In a statement Timi Frank signed to raise an alarm on Sunday afternoon, he said the special squad of security men who carried out the search confessed that they were directed by the presidency to embarrass the former Vice President.
The squad, Frank revealed were armed with recording gadgets in and out of Atiku’s aircraft “to see if he returned to the country with foreign currencies or any other implicating materials.”
Speaking further, the former APC spokesman said the security men and the presidency were disappointed when nothing implicating could be found on either Atiku or his aircraft.
While condemning what he tagged President Muhammadu Buhari’s move to desperately nail the PDP presidential candidate, Frank observed if the former President Goodluck Jonathan was so harsh on President Buhari in 2015, he couldn’t have occupied the office today.
He said since Atiku Abubakar left office as Vice President for eight years, “this is the first time out of desperation to nail him that he has been searched embarrassingly” and warned president Buhari to desist from his act of desperation against the PDP presidential candidate.
“Due to information at our disposal, I have been saying it that the PDP presidential candidate is not safe under this administration because the Buhari administration is deploying all manners of devilish strategies to nail all the opposition leaders especially, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“We are using this medium to inform the international community to also take note of how Buhari administration is intimidating the opposition presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who has served Nigeria as Vice President for eight years”, he added.
In another development, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has condemned in the strongest terms the unleashing of a special security squad of army, police and paramilitary agencies by the federal government to physically harass its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Abuja airport, upon his return from Dubai.
Reacting to the treatment meted out to its presidential candidate, the PDP said through its Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan that it was shocking when the deadly squad, in a Gestapo style attack, and acting on ‘orders from above’ rushed our candidate immediately he landed and attempted to physically manhandle him before invading his aircraft with dangerous weapons to conduct a violent search.
“While they did not find anything incriminating on our Presidential candidate, this deadly squad, violently tampered with certain personal documents and gadgets belonging to him, including some of his campaign documents.
“The PDP completely rejects such violence against the person of our Presidential candidate by the Buhari Presidency, which we know has been jittery over Atiku Abubakar’s soaring popularity since his emergence as our candidate.
“We invite the world to note that having failed to drag down our Presidential candidate with spurious allegations and smear campaign; the APC has now resorted to state-backed violence against him and must be held responsible should any harm befall him or any member of his campaign team”, the party further stated.
The party said that they are for peace, but we will not accept this recourse to violence, which they believe is orchestrated to directly harm their Presidential candidate, foist a siege mentality on the system and set the stage for series of coordinated violence, ostensibly to truncate a peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.
“The Buhari Presidency and the APC should bear in mind that this is an attack on our democracy and the collective sensibility of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians, across board, who have accepted the choice of Atiku Abubakar as Nigeria’s next President and they will vigorously deploy every means available in a democracy to defend him and our democratic process.
“Today, Atiku Abubakar, as a Presidential candidate, has the highest demography of supporters and volunteers across our nation and we will not hesitate to call them out in defence of democracy if another such attempt is made against our candidate.
“Nigeria is not a conquered territory and anybody that wants to foist a totalitarian regime on our land will be firmly resisted.
“We invite President Buhari to recall that as a Presidential candidate, he had occasions to travel out of the country and the government in power never besieged or harassed him in any way. His administration should therefore not introduce such violence in our democratic space”, it added.
The party therefore counseled the APC and the Buhari Presidency to know that power belongs to God and that the time has come for Nigerians to choose a new President, for which they have collectively rallied around Atiku Abubakar and that their resort to violence, smear campaign, character assassination and rigging will not change this resolve.
Also reacting, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce condemned the harassment of Atiku by security agents.