By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- The major opposition party in the country, The Peoples Democratic Party has described as unacceptable the sack of Babachir Lawal and Ayo One, until recently, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Director General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) respectively, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The party bemoaned the reaction of the President, saying relieving the duo of their jobs was a “Slap on the face of Nigerians.”
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the PDP condemned the manner the allegations of sleaze against the two government officials was handled by the President Buhari- led government.
“The statement on the sack of Babachir Lawal, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Ayo Oke, the former Director General of Nigerian Intelligent Agency (NIA) is a slap on the face of Nigerians. It is an insult on the collective intelligence of our people who have waited patiently for the President’s reaction on the humongous act of corruption by two of his principal aides and this is totally unacceptable.
“First and foremost, we had disagreed with the President last year when he decided to setup the panel headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to investigate the matter because we thought that was the wrong course of action to take. Ordinarily, cases of corruption or alleged cases of misappropriation of funds are supposed to be referred to institutions that are saddled with the responsibility to investigate and prosecute such matters which is the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) if there is any prima facie case against them. But it appears not all animals are equal under the Buhari All Progressives Congress (APC) administration,” the statement read in part.
The party also berated the APC administration for an allege bias in the fight against corruption, saying thus far, the opposition has been singled out for ” harrowing experiences.”
“Some people are treated with kid gloves while others particularly those in opposition are subjected to all manner of harrowing experiences.
“One of the Senators of the APC, Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna State succinctly put the matter when he said that this administration uses deodorant to fight corruption when it comes to some APC members and President Buhari’s kitchen Cabinet and insecticides when it involves members of the opposition and those in the National Assembly.
Expressing worry over the length of time it took President Buhari to take action on the matter, the party said members of the PDP facing similar charges were being treated differently.
“It took the President almost one year to attend to this matter while the culprits were having a field day at home and enjoying themselves. Whereas, in the case of the opposition especially the PDP members, even when the evidence is flimsy they will be visited with multiple harassment and intimidation for months and weeks without proper trial.
“We cite the case of Sambo Dasuki who has been in detention for over two years and running even when many courts in Nigeria and the ECOWAS Court have ordered for his release, but the President has fragrantly disobeyed these court orders which again are a violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is an impeachable offence. So the President cannot just sack Ayo Oke and Babachir Lawal and expects us to be clapping for him.
“We believe that we are operating under a democracy and a Constitution that governs our affairs. To have subjected these people to different sets of rule and treatment is totally unacceptable. Nigerians are the same under the law and Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke should not be tried by the Presidency while others are hounded by the EFCC and ICPC.
“These actions of Mr. President are therefore a breach of his oath of office which he swore to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to be fair and just to all Nigerians without any discrimination whatsoever.
“The action of the President is a gross violation of his constitutional oath and therefore constitutes a veritable ground for impeachment .Using and applying different laws to different people in the country is a direct assault on the constitution and the rule of law .
“Consequently, we call on the National Assembly to begin processes to impeach the President for breach of the Constitution and fragrance disobedient to the laws of Nigeria.
“The President has by his actions taken Nigeria to the level of a banana republic,” the party wrote adding that “Three successive governments of the PDP did not act in the manner President Buhari is acting.”
According to the party, “The sudden sack of the SGF and the DG of NIA is just a consequence of the backlash on the Abdulrasheed Maina saga. Up till now there’s no answer to the pertinent questions we have asked on the Maina saga.
“This kind of arrogance is unprecedented in the history of this county. We again call for the arrest and investigation of the two Ministers involved in the return of Maina into the Civil Service, that is, the Minister of Interior, Bello Dambazau and Abubakar Mallami , the Attorney General of the federation.”