Monday, October 28, 2013

Opposition govs blast FG over disruption of G7 govs meeting

The eleven opposition governors, Monday, blasted the Federal
Government for disrupting a meeting of seven governors of the Peoples
Democratic Party in Abuja on Sunday.
The seven governors, who broke away from the mainstream PDP last
August, were about to meet at the Sokoto State Governor's Lodge in
Asokoro when armed policemen stormed the place and drove them away.
They eventually met briefly at the Kano Governor's Lodge in the same
Asokoro District but did not wait to issue a communiqué apparently for
fear of being harassed by security agents, who have been on the prowl
against them in recent months.
The Progressive Governors' Forum, Monday, described the disruption of
the governors' meeting as an affront on the Nigerian constitution and
a serious setback to democracy.
A statement by the Director General of the PGF, Mr. Salihu Lukman, and
made available to Vanguard, noted with dismay the resort by the
Federal Government to the use of its security agents to harass,
intimidate and oppress the seven governors and other innocent
Nigerians who have issues with the PDP.
The PGF noted, "for a government that purports to obey the rule of
law, the disruption of a peaceful meeting by the police is not only
crude, condemnable and unwarranted, but is also a reflection of
government's growing intolerance and an affront on the democratic
rights of Nigerians.
"Particularly disturbing and worthy of note is that if seven
governors, all of whom 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 on other party members.
"The Progressive Governors Forum finds it unacceptable that the
Nigeria Police has been reduced to partisan agents and attack dogs
that only serve a faction of a political party when the level of
insecurity in the country is 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
"At a time when every security outfit and resource should be devoted
to securing the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians, that the Federal
Government thinks it expedient to send the number of officers and the
kind of equipment it did to harass its perceived political opponents
takes governance to a new level of irresponsibility and rascality.
"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 Progressive Governors Forum notes with concern, the role of other
public officials in the persecution of perceived opposition figures
like Senator Aisha Al-Hassan, whose events centre, A-Park Gardens in
Abuja, that has been in operation for several years, has been suddenly
revoked by the FCTA and slated for demolition.
"This came 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 to Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State who now
operates without an ADC and a CSO.
"The PGF hereby expresses solidarity with the G7 Governors who have
every right to fear for their lives, as well as other Nigerians that
might have been victims of government misuse of the police to
intimidate, harass and oppress law abiding citizens.
While calling on Nigerians to rise up against the new wave of assault
by the Federal Government on voices of dissent, the PGF pleaded with
the National Assembly to direct the Police to stop further harassment
of the nPDP and other perceived opponents of the PDP's administration.

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