The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday demanded the immediate and unconditional release of its chieftain, Doyin Okupe, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
PDP described the arrest and subsequent detention of Okupe as an “act of intimidation and harassment by the Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency in its bid to browbeat the opposition and dissenting voices in our country ahead of the 2019 general election.”
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the former ruling party stressed that Okupe’s arrest was “part of the presidency’s witch-hunt and grand plot to escalate the clampdown on opposition leaders,” in an attempt to “cow and subjugate them as the elections draw nearer”.
The statement read further, “We invite Nigerians to note that the EFCC was unleashed on Dr. Okupe with fabricated charges, just because of his criticisms of the misrule of the Buhari administration, particularly, his last Wednesday’s demand to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare President Buhari as not validly nominated as a Presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.
“Since this comment, Dr. Okupe has been threatened, harassed and his home raided by officials of the EFCC last Saturday over claims of cyberstalking, which they could not substantiate, only for the commission to arrest and detain him on Monday.
“It is indeed unfortunate that the EFCC, under President Buhari, has been turned to a militant wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to hound, intimidate, harass and even extort money from opposition leaders and other Nigerians perceived to be opposed to Mr. President’s ill-fated re-election bid.
“If the EFCC has not been compromised by the Buhari President, why has it not invited or even questioned officials of the Presidency indicted for corruption or the factional National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, over alleged extortion of billions of naira from his party members, for which he even had to flee the country?
“Why has the EFCC not invited the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and President Buhari’s close relatives, who were recently mentioned by a suspect, Amina Mohammed, as being involved in serial looting of public resources?
“Moreover, instead of using their so-called technology and intelligence to harass and extort money from innocent, harmless and law-abiding citizens, we challenge our now well-trained EFCC officials to join our security agencies and deploy their technology in the fight against terrorism in the North East.”
PDP also challenged the Buhari presidency over its resort to “wicked politics of chasing after opposition leaders and their family members” as such will not save the President from “the resolve by majority of Nigerians” to vote him out of office and elect Atiku Abubakar at the 2019 polls.