The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has sent a petition to both the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of disrespecting the judiciary.
It also accused the President and the Federal Government of engaging in what it described as impunity and other anti-democratic vices.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, signed the party’s letters which were made available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the letters, Secondus accused the Federal Government of using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to intimidate the members of the opposition.
He also drew the attention of the two world leaders to President Buhari’s alleged brazen attack on the principle of rule of law.
The petition partly read, “Sadly, the unfettered freedom and respect for human dignity entrenched by our party has been eroded in the last three years of the current administration.
“An important institution like the EFCC, which was established by the PDP government under President Olusegun Obasanjo and graciously still supported by international friends of Nigeria, including the taxpayers of the European Union, to professionally deal with the scourge of corruption, has now lost its essence and original intentions of the founders to become the Buhari administration’s tool for persecution of opposition members and perceived political opponents.
“The EFCC, under this administration, has metamorphosed into a draconian agency, showing scant regard for the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“The commission has turned the process of investigation into a media event to embarrass and tarnish the image of key opposition figures and sub-national governments of the federation perceived to be averse to the whims and electoral interest of the ruling party.”
On the alleged steps taken by the Buhari administration against the judiciary and rule of law, the opposition party declared that “the recent outburst by President Buhari that he will jail more looters, created national outrage and concern about the role of the judiciary and respect of our institutions.”
He said, “Also, his recent declaration, at an event of the Nigerian Bar Association, that the rule of law will take second stage on issues involving alleged threat to national security, raises fresh concern about this administration’s attitude and respect for constitutional rule.
“These revealing statements from the President provide context for the treasonable attack, by armed operatives of the secret police, on the National Assembly, blocking members of the opposition from gaining access to their offices.
“It also explains the licence behind the continued unlawful detention of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), a former National Security Adviser, against multiple court orders mandating his release as well as the documented cases of human right abuses, including arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, unlawful arrests and detentions, torture, impunity, restriction of free speech and press freedom as catalogued in the reports by the United States Department of States and other international agencies.”
He appealed to the two world leaders to prevail on President Buhari to move away from the path of what he called impunity and totalitarianism.
He said, “At this critical moment in Nigeria’s political development we cannot afford to revert to the impunity of governance that characterised our military past.
“We, therefore, enjoin you, Madam Prime Minister, to use your immense clout to impress on President Buhari and his administration to immediately retreat from the path of authoritarianism and embrace the ideals associated with a democracy.
“President Buhari’s antecedents and current flirtation with dictatorship should not be allowed to reverse the gains of liberal democracy to which the PDP and the UK are committed.
“Your intervention, at this time, will help Nigeria and indeed Africa to avert a looming crisis that will divide Nigeria along its emerging fault lines.”
Secondus also called on both leaders not to allow the President derail Nigeria’s democracy with his actions and utterances.