The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it described as unrelenting media trial and persecution of opposition members and perceived opponents of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government through anti-graft agencies.
It said the trial of its members won’t stop the party from defeating the APC in 2019.
National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja said members of the opposition were being persecuted under the guise of fighting corruption.
Ologbondiyan said that whereas the PDP was in no way opposed to the fight against corruption, it was completely against government’s resort to media trial and constant harassment of opposition.
He said the party was against unlawful detention and trumped-up charges against opposition members, using various anti-graft agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The PDP particularly rejects the emerging trend by the EFCC, wherein accused persons and individuals who are still under investigation on alleged corruption charges are paraded and forced to hang criminal tags.
“This was meted out to former Kaduna State Governor Muktar Yero, even when he has not been convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.
Recall that Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi has also condemned the treatment of Yero like a common criminal.
PDP added that it is “totally against the desperation by the EFCC, working under the instruction of the APC, to declare a guilty verdict on accused persons without trial by the courts.
“This is all in the bid to bring perceived political opponents to public odium and emasculate the opposition ahead of 2019 general elections.’’
Ologbondiyan said the PDP also rejected direct interference in ongoing cases, including those in courts, by appointees of the Presidency, particularly members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption.
He said the comments and actions of the appointees had continued to escalate media trials and other irregularities in the handling of such cases.
“The PDP insists, in very unequivocal terms, that we can no longer continue to stomach the hijacking of the duties of the judiciary by agencies of the executive under the instructions of the Presidency.
“Nigerians will recall that the PDP had earlier raised the alarm over this unrelenting assault, harassment, and persecution of opposition members under the guise of fight against corruption,’’ he said.
Ologbondiyan said the fight against corruption must be prosecuted within the ambits of the provisions of the law.
“Corruption fight cannot be used as an instrument of persecution and clampdown against the opposition,’’ he said.