A leading pro-democracy and Non-Governmental Organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has condemned as outrageous and unacceptable the abuse of power by the Presidency for targeting the leading opposition party’s presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Reacting to the unusual frisking of the PDP presidential candidate by security operatives on arrival from Dubai, the group asked the international community to note that Nigeria’s fragile democracy is now going through the toughest threats from within the current President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group faulted as spurious, puerile and pedestrian the explanation offered by the minister of state for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika that Atiku was searched on arrival from Dubai the United Arab Emirates because that was the routine at the aviation facilities in the country.
They maintained that close family members of the President who often travel out of the country and back making use of the publicly funded Presidential planes are not subjected to body searches nor is the jet searched but rather they are welcomed at the Airports by top ranking cabinet level members of the current government even when these family members are not officials of the Nigerian government.
HURIWA asserted that even officials of the administration who should also be subjected to bodily searches at the airports are never made to go through these so called routine searches just as the Rights group stated that the fact that the security officials who searched the former Vice President of Nigeria had on them some video and audio recording devices is a clear indication that the activity was properly planned, implemented and monitored at the highest level of the current administration in Abuja.
“The reason for the harassment of the opposition leader by security officials who searched his jet and subjected him and members of his entourage to bodily searches as adduced by the minister of Aviation does not hold water because there are clear evidences of double standards in such a naked fashion that even young children of the President are accorded the highest diplomatic treatments on arrival or departure from the international airports in Nigeria.
“But the former Vice President of Nigeria Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was subjected to embarrassing searches with video recording devices just because he is the leading opponent of the current President who is the Uncle of the current Aviation minister who ordinarily wouldn’t want his big and benevolent uncle to lose the election and therefore can now be seen throwing his power around and abusing his official privileges by subjecting a highly respected Statesman to searches that even the most downgraded travelers returning from markets in China are not subjected to.
“This explanation by the Aviation minister of state is anything but believable or valid but is a pure fabrication to conceal their shameless faces after they failed as it were from achieving the predetermined plots for which the dubious stop and search was done on the plane of the most respected political opponent of the current President who only few months back was threatened with death the moment he emerged as the presidential candidate of the PDP.
“The searches on the jet of Atiku Abubakar and on their bodies were well choreographed by the Presidency to try to either intimidate, harass and embarrass Atiku Abubakar or try to implicate him in a phantom crime in other to disqualify him from the contest.
“Only last week some hired thugs of the Buhari campaign council had addressed the media calling for the Dubai visit of the candidate of the PDP for the presidential poll to be probed just after the National leader of APC Bola Ahmed Tinubu met Muhammadu Buhari and came out to ridicule the Dubai political meetings of Atiku Abubakar and the Deputy publicity scribe of APC also called for the investigation of the trip. The actions of the security forces were approved by the President.”