By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of one of its chieftains, Doyin Okupe, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The party described Okupe’s arrest and detention as an act of intimidation and harassment by the Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency in what it termed its bid to browbeat the opposition and dissenting voices in the land ahead of the 2019 general election.
In a statement issued Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said Okupe’s arrest “is part of the grand plot to escalate the clampdown on opposition leaders, in the attempt to cow and subjugate them as the elections draw nearer, a scheme the PDP had since alerted the nation about.”
It called on 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.”
The statement read in part, “Since this comment, Dr. Okupe has been threatened, harassed and his home raided by officials of the EFCC last Saturday over claims of cyber stalking, 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 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?
“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.”