The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the Spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, by the police, allegedly on the orders of the Speaker of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The party decried the arrest of the CUPP Spokesman, in defiance of a subsisting court order barring such, as a direct affront to the judiciary, an assault on our democratic practice and a violation of Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere’s rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
In demanding his release, the party in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, expressed worry over reports that the CUPP spokesperson is being detained under a very dehumanizing condition where he is also allegedly being tortured.
The PDP insisted that, without prejudice to the issues between the leadership of the House of Representatives and the CUPP, for which the two parties were before a court, resorting to using the police to arrest and detain the CUPP spokesperson, in defiance of the orders of the court, is completely unacceptable, unlawful and cannot be justified under any guise whatsoever.
“Our party charges the Presiding Officers of the APC-led House of Representatives to note that Nigeria is a democratic state, governed by law which creates no space for the whims and caprices of dictatorial, oppressive and vindictive individuals, who has no regard for rules.
“The APC leaders in the House of Representatives should, therefore, respect the sanctity of the judiciary and the provisions of the law by following due process in dealing with issues, particularly those guaranteed by the constitution.
“The PDP, therefore, calls on the Inspector General of Police to wade into the matter, insulate the police from the political manipulation of the APC leadership, by immediately ordering the release of the CUPP Spokesperson, in keeping with the demands of the tenets of democracy, rule of law and provision of 1999 Constitution”.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has urged the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Muhammed Adamu to immediately order the release of Barrister Ikenga Ugochinyere, insisting that his arrest and continued detention were in clear violation of a subsisting court order.
The umbrella body of all registered political parties and associations in the country also warned that it will not be in the interest of democracy and the rule of law for institutions of government to return to the inglorious path of flagrant disobedience of court order, saying that the CNPP findings clearly show that the Inspector General of the Police was misled by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to effect the arrest in the first place.
A statement signed by the CNPP Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu on Friday also noted that the arrest and detention amount to another attempt by Nigerian lawmakers to decimate the judiciary.
“On Thursday evening the news broke on the gestapo style arrest of the CUPP spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere to the shock of the Conference on Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP).
“The CNPP was particularly shocked because the Nigeria Police under the leadership of the current Inspector General of Police has given the Police a new image, which the current arrest and detention of Ikenga Ugochinyere as the opposition spokesman will avoidably reverse.
“It was even more disgraceful to learn that the arrest was in connection with an instigation by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who is supposed to be a defender of the rule of law, knowing that the 3rd June 2020 order of the Federal Capital Territory High Court restraining the Police and the SSS from arresting or detaining Ugochinyere is yet to be vacated.
“For the very fact that the police acted in glaring disobedience to lawful orders of Court, we urge the Inspector General of Police to immediately order his release unconditionally in respect for the rule of law, and constitutional democracy.
“We make this demand, knowing that the injunction order of the Court and all processes in the matter have been served on the Police, including the hearing notice notifying that the matter has been adjourned for definite hearing on 30th June 2020″.