By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Dirisu Yakubu
Former Vice President and presidential hopeful of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has warned against what he described as a consistent pattern of departure from constitutional due process to tendencies of authoritarianism.
The former vice president said in a statement marking the 25th anniversary of June 12, that there was a growing culture of arbitrariness in some of the institutions of government at all levels that is contradictory to the notion of inclusiveness and fairness that a democratic society guarantees.
In the statement, yesterday, the former vice president said the foundation of a democratic society was the guarantee of fundamental human rights that give the citizenry the freedom of speech, freedom of movement and the ability of the people to belong to any lawful association they deemed inclined.
He noted that it was the exclusive responsibility of the state, through the various security organisations, to see to the protection of these fundamental rights of the people.
Recalling the recent campaign by youth across the country against the brutality of the anti-robbery unit of the Nigeria Police, SARS, Abubakar noted that up till now, there had yet to be a fundamental reform in the operations of that unit.
He said: “Today, across our major cities and even in the hinterlands, citizens – especially the youth – can hardly walk freely in open avenues without the police stopping them to search through the content of their mobile handsets.
“Civil servants now lose their jobs just because they choose to criticize politicians in government positions. There are even suggestions in some quarters that civil servants should be barred from signing to social media networks.”