The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lambasted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as well as his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for constantly harassing its members.
PDP stated this in two separate press releases issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan.
Mr Ologbodiyan told the Federal Government to fight corruption and stop hounding members of the opposition parties.
According to him, the party frowned at the Motion Exparte filed by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property seeking the forfeiture of assets allegedly not declared by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, alleging plots to silence the opposition.
Ologbodiyan Said that the party said that while the PDP was in full support of any genuine anti-graft war, the APC-led administration’s obsession with Ekweremadu was another clear indication that it was not ready to fight corruption.
Rather, it is out to scandalise, persecute, and bring down its perceived opponents.
It said: “The PDP recalls that this government rushed to arraign Senator Ekweremadu and the Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki in 2016 on trumped up charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rule, even when there was not even a mention of their names in the contentious police report or Proof of Evidence. It eventually withdrew the charges for lack of merit.
“The police raided and ransacked Senator Ekweremadu’s official guest house in Abuja in May 2017 and blamed it on false whistleblowers, whom they charged to court. Nothing has been heard about the trial of the alleged false whistleblowers again.
“In the current matter, apart from relying on an obsolete law to dabble into the roles of the Code of Conduct Bureau, we are not surprised that the Panel could not carry out a thorough and independent investigation on the purported property of the senator, but relied on a petition by the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who is standing corruption trial in several courts, after his removal from office by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in 2017.
“We recall that the senator accused Umezulike and some politicians of stealing and doctoring his will, inserting non-existent properties or properties that had nothing to do with him.
“It is also instructive that this calculated smear campaign is in the guise of forfeiture of phantom assets came on the heels of Senator Ekweremadu’s alarm and scathing criticism of the APC-led administration over the nation’s deteriorating democracy and in the midst of the ongoing executive-legislature faceoff, in which a ranking senator of the APC extraction identified Ekweremadu as a pillar of support to the Senate President”.
The PDP said that contrary to the Federal Government’s claims, Senator Ekweremadu had assured it that he declared his assets.
The party also lamented APC’s manifest interest and continued interference in the trial of its former National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.
It also said its members have specifically expressed fear about Chief Metuh’s fate before Justice Okon Abang, a judge it said had in the past delivered judgments against the PDP, which were eventually upturned, after much damage had been done.
It expressed curiousity that interferences are manifesting in Metuh’s case even after the court had adjourned indefinitely on his application to be allowed to travel to the UK for surgery.
It further recalled the the same court had twice rejected Chief Metuh’s applications for medical leave at the initial stage of his ailment, but the condition of the former PDP spokesman has now degenerated.
It also recalled that people facing similar charges at the Federal High Court are granted leave to travel for ordinary medical check-ups and other sundry reasons.
However, in the case of Olisa Metuh, his application for medical treatment was deferred indefinitely and had to be brought to court for trial even on a hospital stretcher.
It wondered why the Buhari Government rushed to court without completion of investigation in the case of Ekweremadu but turned deaf ears to public demand for the prosecution of the administration’s functionaries and friends indicted of corruption.
The PDP, therefore, alleged that Ekweremadu’s and Metuh’s travails were part of the grand plan to strangulate the opposition ahead of 2019 election.