By Mike Odiakose
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Sunday night 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.
Atiku, on arrival from Dubai after weeks of vacation, was searched manually by a combined team of the Nigerian Customs, Army, Police, and Immigration immediately he alights from his aircraft.
The PDP presidential candidate clothes and personal effects were thoroughly searched but nothing incriminating was found on him.
The security team used video recording devices during the sting operation and Atiku was allowed to leave the airport.
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 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.”
The PDP counselled 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.
Meanwhile Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has condemned the harassment of Atiku by security agents. Read his tweet below:
I totally condemn this reckless harassment of @atiku the candidate of the
@OfficialPDPNig as he landed in Abuja. Nigeria is not a fascist state. We will not return to a jackboot dictatorship. This government should face Atiku at the polls, not with force.