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ANTI-CORRUPTION : Senators Accuse Buhari Of Selective Probe

Senators Of Peoples Democratic Party Threaten To Report President Muhammadu Buhari To The Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar-Led Peace Committee Over His Alleged Selective Anti- Corruption Probe

Senate caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of high level conspiracy and using the Department of State Security (DSS) to intimidate, harass and jail their party chieftains in opposition states. They said the President’s anticorruption drive has been selective.

The lawmakers also accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of planning to use the DSS, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upturn victories of PDP governors and their lawmakers at the last general elections. But Senate spokesman, Senator Dino Melaye, who reacted to the allegations, described them as shocking.

Addressing Senate correspondents shortly after the Plenary session yesterday, leader of the Caucus, who is also the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, declared that Buhari is being selective in his perceived anti-corruption war and probe. “For emphasis, the PDP Senate Caucus is worried, alarmed and shocked by the recent development in our polity, where the DSS is now involved in electoral matters. A situation where officials of INEC in Abia, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states (all PDP states) are daily being arrested, detained and questioned on politically motivated corruption allegations, is worrisome and spells doom for our democracy unless the trend is reversed.

“No democracy survives without viable opposition in any part of the world. INEC is supposed to be an independent commission, and its officials ought to be shielded from partisanship. “The arrest of electoral officials in states APC did not win elections in by an APC-led Federal Government is a source of worry to this caucus and indeed all lovers of democracy worldwide.

There is no provision in our laws that allow the DSS to meddle in a partisan manner in the political electoral process. “The elections in Abia, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states were held and adjudged successful and credible by Prof. Attahiru Jega, the erstwhile Chairman of INEC. Equally dissatisfied and aggrieved parties have gone to courts in conformity with our laws to seek redress.

“The intrusion by the DSS in arresting, coercing, intimidating and harassing INEC officials in a democracy is most condemnable. Though these arrests, coercion, detention and harassment are happening in only PDP-controlled states, we would still have condemned these actions, if they had taken place in APC controlled states since these actions are strange to democratic ethics and practices all over the world,” he said.

Akpabio expressed further worries that the attention of the DSS is being diverted, as its activities have been compromised. “At this period of renewed onslaught by the Boko Haram terrorists in the North Eastern part of our dear nation, we expect security agencies to deploy their assets and manpower towards recovering lost territories and ensuring the safety and security of lives and properties of all Nigerians.

We condemn these arrests; describe them as illegal, a total misplacement of priority, a waste of tax payers’ money in an economically challenging time, and a serious threat to democracy. “Should the DSS succeed in coercing electoral officials of INEC to recant their signatures to documents and there from obtain undeserved victories in tribunals for APC, what image would have been created for Nigeria’s democracy? We call on the President to intervene and restrain the DSS from partisanship,” he added.

According to the ex-governor of Akwa Ibom State, the PDP has reports to the effect that INEC officials are being forced by DSS to produce falsified documents to support APC candidates’ cases before tribunals. “This is abominable and unacceptable. Mr President and all well-meaning Nigerians must intervene to preserve the independence of the tribunal and that of INEC.

“The DSS must refocus its energy towards its primary role of preserving peace, protecting lives, ensuring internal security and order, preventing mutiny or violent and unconstitutional takeover of government. In the past, many Nigerians were able to sleep with their eyes closed because of the noble role played by the DSS. “This same DSS helped in wiping out kidnapping in South-East, South-South and other parts of Nigeria in collaboration with other security services.

Their efforts in intelligence gathering to assist in the war against insurgency are applauded by all Nigerians. “The DSS cannot and should not now become a political tool to win cases for APC candidates in courts and tribunals. We plead with Mr. President to stop this operation capture Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia states by all means by certain APC schemers. Mr. President, please restore confidence in the polity by putting an end to all witch-hunts, illegal arrests, detention and harassment”, he added.

Akpabio also disclosed that their concern would be sent to the Peace and Reconciliation Committee headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar. In his reaction to the PDP Caucus allegations, Melaye, said that it is shocking that such were coming from the PDP. “We were in a government, where the DSS was an appendage of the PDP. The President is only trying to do things right. Nigerians suffered interference in the hands of the DSS in the past. The wife of Saraki is being investigated,” he added.

The UNION reports that the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, was present at the briefing by the PDP Senate Caucus.

Secondus Wants Amaechi, Tinubu Probed

President Muhammadu Buhari’s has been challenged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to probe former Governors of Lagos and River States, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi respectively.

Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr.Uche Secondus, threw this challenge at President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Secondus said the anti-corruption war which has witnessed arrest of former governors amongst others has been restricted to members of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He said for the anti-corruption stands to be holistic the Buhari administration must unleash the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on people whose allegations against them have been made public. He stressed that if this is not done then it would be reasoned that the move was to stifle the opposition which defines democracy.

Secondus said that the Peoples Democratic Party gave Nigeria the most powerful Act of accountability which is the Freedom of Information Act that empowers Nigerians to speak freely within the ambit of the law. He dismissed the allegation of the protesting workers that the NWC embezzled the N12billion generated during the sales of forms at the last elections.

He explained that the money was over N11billion but less than N12billion. According to him: “the guideline of the party, this money was shared among the state, local government and the zones. “The state chapters were given 10 per cent; local government and zones five per cent each. The people who were sent on assignment spent 15 percent. The remaining was used for the elections.

We raised the money and we used the money for elections. Nobody embezzled any money even the workers said so in their apology letter,” Secondus stressed. Earlier, Peoples Democratic Party minority leadership in the senate endorsed the National Working Committee of the party thereby dousing tension over the credibility of the NWC of the party.

Minority leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said the 49 senate members of the PDP has passed a vote of confidence on the NWC He said this while on its maiden visit to the National Working Committee which has relocated from the Wadata House to the Legacy House since the fierce quarrel started amongst the party followership in the national secretariat.

Akpabio commended the party’s leadership in the National Assembly for their satisfactory performance since inauguration, and promised that the NWC will work with them to reposition PDP as a virile opposition party. The Senate Minority Leader, conveyed the endorsement of the 49 PDP minority members in the National Assembly to the NWC stating that their actions since May 29 have been good for the party.

Akpabio said the members have passed a vote of confidence on the NWC, and expressed happiness that the crisis between the NWC and the workers has been resolved. He stressed that the party must face the reality of her status as an opposition and downsizing the workforce will be part of it “because we are no more in the Villa any longer.”

  -Emeka Ekpunobi, Teddy Nwanunobi and Patrick Osadebemwen, Abuja

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