The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has described the re-arrest and detention of social critic, Deji Adeyanju, as political rather than judicial in nature, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct his immediate release.
While decrying what he described as the continued sliding of Nigeria into dictatorship by the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, government, he stated that his call for Adeyanju’s release is to ensure that his fundamental human rights are not continuously abused by the police.
Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that Adeyanju’s case was presenting the present administration in bad light as a government that was intolerant of criticism and suppressing views of the opposition.
He stated that a situation where Adeyanju was arrested after leading a protest in Abuja and sundry charges were filed against him while he was re-arrested after being given bail by a court indicated a deliberate attempt to get him out of circulation.
The Senate President expressed concerns that the reports on the Adeyanju case were giving the present administration a bad name and indicating that dictatorial tendencies were becoming rife in a democratic country.
He advised Buhari not to allow the excesses and overzealousness of some security agents to give his government a bad name, saying that these concerns informed his call that Buhari should interfere and let the world know the truth about this case.
According to Saraki, “The way the matter has been handled and the last decision of the Magistrate Court to remand the young man in prison till after the conclusion of the 2019 polls has presented our democracy in bad light. We are now looking like a country that has receded to the period of military rule.
“The President needs to intervene to find out whether the current travail of Deji Adeyanju has anything to do with his frequently expressed viewpoints against the Federal Government and why his arrest after leading a protest has now ignited all the various charges being filed against him and if it was true that the charges for which he has been remanded in prison till February had actually been adjudicated upon by the High Court.
“It should be noted that prior to the coming to office of this government, those of us in opposition, the APC, freely criticized the Goodluck Jonathan government and flayed their actions and statements without any attempt by the administration to stifle opposing views. This administration, which benefited from such open marketplace of ideas, which is a key tenet of a democratic regime, cannot offer anything less to our people.
“At this point, President Buhari should not allow the excesses and over-zealousness of some security agents to give his government a bad name and that is why I think he should interfere and let the world know the truth about this case. It is obvious that this case is purely political and not about any judicial action.
“I also call on all human rights protection groups to wade into this matter and ensure we do not watch helplessly as the rights of a citizen is being trampled upon.”