Patrick Osadebamwen, Abuja
The release of Brigadier General Jafaru Isa, an associate of President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed the position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the arrest and continued detention of its spokesman was politically motivated.
The PDP said it maintains this position that the anti-corruption fight of the President Buhari led federal government was purely a mission at clamping down on the opposition, the bulk of which is the PDP and its members.
To buttress this position the PDP in a statement signed by its National Legal Adviser, Barr. Victor Kwon said while Olisa Metuh honoured a sudden physical invite by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s but remained incarcerated Gen. Jafaru Isa who disregarded EFCC invite until the commission arrested him got left of the hook barely eight hours after his arrest.
The PDP alleged that Jafaru Isa’s release was sequel to the visit to the villa by the EFCC boss.
“We state with every sense of responsibility that now it is clear, with the release of Jafaru Isa eight hours after his arrest, the continued detention of our spokesman is politically motivated.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us and the laws are made for all of us and must be applied on its values and spirit without political considerations.
“Chief Olisa Metuh remains detained without being charged to court since last Tuesday, vindicates its position that this Federal Government is not fighting corruption but on a clamp-down mission on PDP leaders.
“The APC chieftain who even disregarded the commission’s invitation and had to be arrested was quickly released after the EFCC boss meeting at the Presidential villa.
“There can be no clearer indication that the APC-led administration is on a man-hunt against PDP leaders, and that it has a personal grudge against Chief Metuh, ostensibly for his stance as opposition spokesman, particularly his recent exchange with the government and the APC over their dictatorial activities,” the party said through its National Legal Adviser Victor Kwon.
The party said “this party can no longer guarantee that it can rein in its members and supporters who have been exercising restrain since this particular arrest by the EFCC”
PDP queried the action of the EFCC in freeing Brig. General Jafaru Isa, eight hours after his arrest last Wednesday night while Chief Metuh is still being detained even when the two are being investigated over same allegation of receiving funds from the office of the National Security Adviser.
“The release of Jafaru Isa, a known associate of the President and chieftain of the APC eight hours after his arrest while our spokesman remains in detention even when the two are being investigated over same allegation, clearly shows that the President Buhari-led APC government is not fighting corruption but using the much hyped crusade as a cover to persecute PDP leaders and decimate the opposition, a project the EFCC has clearly yielded itself as a willing tool.
“We have information of the marching order from the Presidency for the immediate release of the President’s associate and that his issue is one of the major part reasons for the repeated visits of the EFCC Chairman to the Presidential villa within the period of his arrest. Of course, there is nothing hidden under the sun.
“We ask, how can the EFCC now explain to the world that it is not corrupt and teleguided by the Federal Government to persecute PDP leaders? What happened to the illegal holding charge upon which it has detained the PDP spokesman beyond the limit stipulated by section 35(5a) of the constitution and in violation of his guaranteed personal liberty under the law?
“Are there now two separate sets of laws; one for PDP leaders and perceived foes of the President Buhari-led government which allows them to be detained beyond constitutional limits without being charged to court and another set, for associates of the President associates and APC leaders, which guarantees them a slap in the back and immunity from investigation and prosecution, and if arrested, an immediate release?
“Is it really true that the fund Jafaru Isa was alleged to have received from the former NSA was traced near the corridors of those who today bestride power in the country? Furthermore, can the Federal Government and the APC now in all honesty face the world and announce that this administration is indeed waging war against corruption?
“Can the EFCC explain what has happened to several petitions by Nigerians on corruption issues against many APC leaders including those who as former governor looted funds belonging to their state? Are they now under immunity for the fact that they are in the APC and that most of the funds they looted where used to finance APC’s Presidential campaign?
“While we reiterate our support for any effort aimed eradicating corruption in our nation we stand our ground in demanding that the fight must be holistic, credible, within the limits provided by the laws irrespective of political affiliations.
“The PDP therefore restates its demand that the EFCC immediately releases its spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh or charge him to court if they have any case against him. His continued detention without being charged to court is only indicative of the fact that the commission has not been able to convince itself of enough evidence of guilt and is now lending itself as a willing instrument of persecution against Chief Metuh.