The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, have condemned the “physical harassment” by security agencies of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The PDP blasted the action in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, saying that a special security squad of army, police and paramilitary agencies were unleashed on Atiku by the Government of president Muhammdu Buhari.
The statement read, “The Peoples Democratic Party condemns in the strongest terms the unleashing of a special security squad of army, police and paramilitary agencies by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency to physically harass our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Abuja airport upon his return from Dubai.
“It was shocking when the deadly squad, in a Gestapo-style attack, and acting on orders from above rushed our candidate immediately he landed and attempted to physically manhandle him before invading his aircraft with dangerous weapons to conduct a violent search.
“While they did not find anything incriminating on our presidential candidate, this deadly squad, violently tampered with certain personal documents and gadgets belonging to him, including some of his campaign documents.
“The PDP completely rejects such violence against the person of our presidential candidate by the Buhari Presidency, which we know has been jittery over Atiku Abubakar’s soaring popularity since his emergence as our candidate.
“We invite the world to note that having failed to drag down our presidential candidate with spurious allegations and smear campaign, the APC has now resorted to state-backed violence against him and must be held responsible should any harm befall him or any member of his campaign team.
“The PDP is for peace, but we will not accept this recourse to violence, which we believe is orchestrated to directly harm our presidential candidate, foist a siege mentality on the system and set the stage for series of coordinated violence, ostensibly to truncate a peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.
“We invite President Buhari to recall that as a presidential candidate, he had occasions to travel out of the country and the government in power never besieged or harassed him in any way. His administration should therefore not introduce such violence in our democratic space.
“Finally, the PDP counsels the APC and the Buhari Presidency to know that power belongs to God and that the time has come for Nigerians to choose a new President, for which they have collectively rallied around Atiku Abubakar and that their resort to violence, smear campaign, character assassination and rigging will not change this resolve,” the statement read.
Mr. Fani-Kayode, recting to the incident, described the security agents’ action as shameful.
He said, “The attempt to intimidate VP Atiku Abubakar with security agents at the airport after his arrival in Abuja this (Sunday) morning is utterly shameful and I totally condemn it.
“It is the desperate act of a vicious, cowardly, weak, paranoid, dying and failed government who know that their time is over.”
Mr. Abubakar, had alleged on Sunday that on his return from Dubai, he was unusually searched by security agents with the aim of intimidating him.
The PDP presidential candidate returned to Nigeria Sunday morning from Dubai, where he had been on holiday after winning the party’s presidential primary.