The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the arrest of June 12 protesters across the country, describing it as an indictment of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP expressed its reservation in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, on Saturday.
Various groups scheduled demonstrations on June 12 – designated as Democracy Day in Nigeria – to protest against the state of the nation and the governance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reports, videos and pictures have, however, emerged, showing police officers brutalising innocent protesters In Lagos and Cross River states, and Abuja for coming out to protest.
Reacting, the PDP described the clampdown of protesters as a “sacrilegious demonstration” of the APC and President Buhari to subvert democracy in the country.
According to the main opposition party, it is surprising that Buhari who led protests against the then government of President Goodluck Jonathan could allow the security agencies to brutalise Nigerians who are ventilating their views legitimately.
The statement read: “It is awkward that the APC and President Buhari, who were allowed their freedom when they protested in 2014, would turn around to subject Nigerians to actions of inhumanity including the use of firearms against the people, as being witnessed today.
“It is instructive to note that President Buhari, in his supposed Democracy Day address, failed to rein in his security operatives despite the cautions by the PDP. This places the culpability for whatever befalls Nigerians, in the face of the violent attacks by security agencies, on the APC, as well as Mr. President’s desk.
“The PDP is not surprised that in his over 20 minutes speech, Mr. President never made any commitment towards upholding the democratic tenets of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association and right to peaceful protest, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and our statutes, from which he, as the APC candidate, drew huge benefit in 2014.