The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Caretaker Committee has called for the unconditional release of the former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, and other political detainees in government custody.
The demand was made in a statement issued by Dayo Adeyeye, the national publicity secretary of the committee on Monday.
The party said its attention has been once again drawn to “unwarranted arrest and detention” of Lamido by men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in Kano State.
Mr. Adeyeye described the arrest of Mr. Lamido as “outrageous and anti-democratic” and not based on the frivolous allegation of “inciting the public” leveled against him.
“The true reason for his arrest, however, has to do with the forthcoming Local Government elections in Jigawa State,” the party said.
The arrest of former Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue, according to the party, was also linked to the forthcoming Local Government elections in the state.
“We are therefore calling on the security agencies in the country to release unconditionally, Lamido, Suswam, former Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu, and all other political detainees in their custody,” the party stated.
Mr. Adeyeye added that PDP was also aware that members of the opposition would be in for a hard time in the run-up to the 2019 general elections with more arrests and intimidation of their prominent leaders.
He added that Mr. Lamido merely asked the people to defend their votes against rigging, saying “how is that a crime?
“If you are not planning to steal the peoples’ votes, why should you be afraid if the people are advised to defend their votes?
“Of course, no thief would want the owner to guard his house against burglary.”
The PDP recalled that prior to 2015 general election there were inciting statement credited to some members of the then opposition party and no arrest was made.
“It was not a sign of weakness by the PDP led Government. It was in deference to freedom of speech, democracy and peace,” the party said.
The party accused members of the ruling party of being the ones instigating the lawlessness in Kogi, Niger, Benue and now Jigawa State.
“If this ugly trend is not stopped forthwith, it may lead to breach of peace and public disorder,” the party warned.