…it’s confirmation of clampdown on opposition –PDP
- Ohanaeze calls for senator’s immediate release as MASSOB kicks
A fresh twist into the disappearance of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, took a new dimension yesterday as the Department of State Services (DSS) arrested the lawmaker representing Abia-South Senatorial District, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.
His arrest yesterday drew widespread condemnation from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (BIAFRA), who called on the security agency to release the senator forthwith. Abaribe, who alongside two others stood surety for Kanu as part of the IPoB leader’s bail conditions, is due to appear on June 26 before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja to explain the whereabouts of Kanu.
Confirming his arrest yesterday, Abaribe’s Spe-cial Adviser, Mr. Nwokoma Okorie, said the Senator was picked up yesterday morning at his barber’s shop in the Apo area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Though the DSS could not be reached for confirmation, it was, however, gathered that Abaribe had been under close watch by the DSS since he stood surety for Kanu, who had not been seen since the Nigerian Army invaded his family home at Umuahia, Abia State, last year. Also commenting, a source close to Abaribe said his arrest may also not be unconnected with his constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
On its own, the PDP said the arrest of Abaribe by the DSS was a confirmation of its earlier alarm that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has commenced a total clampdown on the opposition and perceived opponents of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid.
The party in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the clampdown on Senator Abaribe was feared to be in furtherance of the moves to intimidate and emasculate members of the National Assembly who were known for their outspokenness against the constitutional violations and misrule of the APC administration.
The PDP noted that the Federal Government had given no reasons for the arrest, adding that the senator has been kept incommunicado without access to his lawyers and associates. The party said there has been apprehension in the country following alleged plots by the Federal Government to frame up other lawmakers, including President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremmadu, as well as Senators Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani.
The party noted: “Nigerians can now see that our dear nation is fast descending into a fascist state where constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech no longer obtains and citizens are marked, arrested and detained at the whims and caprices of those in power. “The PDP charges the DSS to immediately declare Senator Abaribe’s whereabouts, as well as the charge against him.
“Moreover, the laws of our nation are clear on the process of arrest and prosecution of any citizen and not recourse to clampdown and intimidation.” Reacting, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo demanded the immediate release of Abaribe by the DSS. President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, in a statement yesterday noted that the circumstances prevailing at the time of the disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu were “beyond the contemplation of the law that a surety can guarantee the production of an accused person.”
He blamed the disappearance on the invasion of Kanu’s home by army’s “Operation Python Dancce,” which he said, destabilised normalcy there. Nwodo said: “It is only the security agency that can disclose Nnamdi’s whereabouts. Senator Abaribe has no capacity, nor has any surety in the circumstances to know the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu. What happened in Umahia was an invasion, a war of a kind.
“Nnamdi may have been killed or captured in the imbroglio or even escaped into hiding. The onus lies on the security forces to disclose his whereabouts. “The judiciary is beginning to tow the line of the executive by throwing the law overboard in matters that affect the South- East.” Meanwhile, MASSOB has condemned the arrest and subsequent detention of Abaribe by agents of the DSS. A statement signed by the leader of the group, Comrade Uchenna Madu, said: “We know that this humiliating arrest is largely because of signing the bail bond of Kanu and his eloquence in defending the cause and interest of Ndigbo and Christians in general.
“The insensitive arrest of the Igbo senator has proven the frustration of President Muhammadu Buhari against the reawakening of political consciousness of the people of eastern, western and the middle belt regions of Nigeria.” According to Madu, the people of Biafra can never be intimidated, cowed or subjugated.
He said: “Our people are jealously proud of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Ike Ekweremadu, Victor Umeh and others. MASSOB warns that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe should be released now or Ndigbo will showcase our capacity to shake the foundation of this geographical expression called Nigeria.
“And I can assure them that no matter what the FG does, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe will be honoured for his consistency and eloquence in condemning the unconstitutionalism and illegalities of President Mohammed Buhari.”
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