The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told the Federal Government to fight corruption and stop hounding members of the opposition parties.
The party frowned at the Motion Exparte filed by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property seeking the forfeiture of assets allegedly not declared by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, alleging plots to silence the opposition.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, on Thursday, the PDP said that while they are in full support of any genuine anti-graft war, the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led administration’s obsession with Ekweremadu was another clear indication that it was not ready to fight corruption, but rather out to scandalise, persecute, and bring down its perceived opponents.
The statement read in part: “The PDP recalls that this government rushed to arraign Senator Ekweremadu and the Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki in 2016 on trumped up charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rule, even when there was not even a mention of their names in the contentious police report or Proof of Evidence. It eventually withdrew the charges for lack of merit.
“The police raided and ransacked Senator Ekweremadu’s official guest house in Abuja in May 2017 and blamed it on false whistleblowers, whom they charged to court. Nothing has been heard about the trial of the alleged false whistleblowers again.
“In the current matter, apart from relying on an obsolete law to dabble into the roles of the Code of Conduct Bureau, we are not surprised that the Panel could not carry out a thorough and independent investigation on the purported property of the senator, but relied on a petition by the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who is standing corruption trial in several courts, after his removal from office by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in 2017.
“We recall that the senator accused Umezulike and some politicians of stealing and doctoring his will, inserting non-existent properties or properties that had nothing to do with him.
“It is also instructive that this calculated smear campaign is in the guise of forfeiture of phantom assets came on the heels of Senator Ekweremadu’s alarm and scathing criticism of the APC-led administration over the nation’s deteriorating democracy and in the midst of the ongoing executive-legislature faceoff, in which a ranking senator of the APC extraction identified Ekweremadu as a pillar of support to the Senate President”.
Yesterday the PDP also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and some of his appointees to order over their manifest interest and continued interference in the trial of its former National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The party also urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to protect the institution of the judiciary and the courts from the established direct interferences of the APC and officials of the Federal Government in the conduct of cases involving its members and particularly, the former National Publicity Secretary.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday, said the connection between the timing of happenings in the court case and the intrusions of the APC in the entire matter has assumed a worrisome dimension.
The party said its members have specifically expressed fear about Chief Metuh’s fate before Justice Okon Abang, a judge, it said had in the past delivered judgments against the PDP, which were eventually upturned, after much damage had been done.
The statement read in part: :The PDP finds it curious that interferences are manifesting in Metuh’s case even after the court had adjourned indefinitely on his application to be allowed to travel to the UK for surgery.
“This court had twice rejected Chief Metuh’s applications for medical leave at the initial stage of his ailment, but the condition of the former PDP spokesman has now degenerated.
“It is on record that people facing similar charges at the Federal High Court are granted leave to travel for ordinary medical check-ups and other sundry reasons, but Metuh has had his application for medical treatment deferred indefinitely and had to be brought to court for trial even on a hospital stretcher.
“The fact remains that if the court cannot grant Chief Metuh leave for medical treatment, moreso, with the manifest interference of the APC, then there is absolutely no guarantee that he can get justice from the same court at the end of the day and we want the CJN to take copious note of this”.