Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has criticized the silence of the government over the rumors and threats of certain members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) being picked and detained for no identifiable crime against the country or anybody.
In a statement by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President said the PDP crisis is an internal family disagreement, which should not give anybody the right to arrest those who are express dissenting voice.
According to him, “criminalizing legitimate dissent over internal disagreements could lead Nigeria into a police state and thereby, defeat all the basic features of the democratic system”.
The Turaki Adamawa noted with concern why anyone should lose his freedom for expressing contrary opinion.
He said the utterances of certain politicians and members of the other PDP faction were not good for the democratic image of the country.
The former Vice President said democracy and the rule of law frown at the idea of taking the liberty to threaten, harass or arrest those who express dissent with the PDP or any other party leadership.
Atiku said if disagreement is a criminal offence, then more than 90 percent of Nigerians should be arrested and taken to jail. Would they also be jailing the 38 percent of our youth population who are unemployed and the thousands of of those students who are begging that the ASSU strike be immediately resolved so that they can resume their studies? He explained that majority of Nigerians don’t agree with the way the country is being run, but that doesn’t give anybody the power to curtail their freedom to hold that opinion.
He cited the examples of other democracies such as the UK and the US where fellow party members disagree with their prime minister or the president and nobody threatens them with arrest for expressing dissent.
“Democracy goes beyond lip service,” Atiku added.