Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the umbrella of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) have decried Sunday’s disruption of a meeting by the G-7 governors at the Sokoto State governor’s lodge in Abuja.
The G-7 governors, who are members of the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had to abort their meeting at the Sokoto Governor’s Lodge after a detachment of armed policemen stormed the venue in apparent readiness for a showdown. The meeting was eventually held at the Kano Governor’s Lodge.
The PGF in a statement by its director general, Salihu Lukman said for a government that preaches the rule of law, the disruption of a peaceful meeting by the police is not only crude but also a reflection of government’s growing intolerance and an affront on the democratic rights of Nigerians.
The PGF wondered that if governors, who are constitutionally guaranteed immunity from prosecution, can be treated in such a brutal manner, what would be the fate of ordinary citizens, who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of association?
“It is evident that the federal government is unlawfully using the police for its illegal and nefarious activities for the purpose of intimidation aimed at imposing the Bamanga Tukur-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on other party members and Nigerians.
“The Progressive Governors Forum finds it unacceptable that Nigeria Police has been reduced to partisan agents and attack dogs that only serve a faction of a political party when the levels of insecurity in the country are so high. It is reckless to take partisan contest to levels of warfare as the federal government has done because this would only weaken the capacity of security operatives in responding to real security challenges.
“Clearly, President Jonathan and his advisers have acted in complete violations of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended pursuant to some self-serving political interests,” the Forum said.
The PGF also questioned the role of public officials in the persecution of perceived political enemies such as Senator Aisha Al-Hassan, whose events centre, A-Park Gardens in Maitama District, Abuja, has been revoked by the FCTA and marked for demolition.
It said, “This is coming after the security details attached to Senators Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Danjuma Goje, former Governors of Kwara and Gombe states respectively, were withdrawn as were the security details attached Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State who now operates without an ADC and a CSO.”
While expressing solidarity with the G-7 Governors, the progressive governors affirmed that they (G-7) had every right to fear for their lives.
“We urge all patriotic Nigerians to rise to the defense of their legitimate constitutional rights and invite the leadership of the National Assembly to direct the federal government to stop using security operatives to harass political opponents,” it said and urged the National Assembly to direct the police to stop the harassment of members of New PDP forthwith and to urgently intervene and halt the actions of the federal government”.