The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned an alleged raid on the Abuja apartment of Aliyu and Mustapha, sons of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
It followed a disclosure yesterday by media aide to the candidate, Mr Paul Ibe, that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stormed the residence in a fruitless search for incriminating items.
The party said the action showed “how depraved the Buhari presidency has descended in its desperate plot to harm, traumatise and malign the character of our presidential candidate and his family, having realised that Nigerians have aligned behind him as the next president of our country.”
It asked the EFCC leadership to explain why the home of the Atikus became the target of a raid. The party said it was aware of how the squad, said to be acting on ‘orders from above,’ ransacked the house and destroyed valuables belonging to the children.
Urging all Nigerians, particularly the youths, to condemn such acts, the PDP recalled: “Only last month, a special security squad of army, police and paramilitary agencies was unleashed to physically harass our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Abuja airport, upon his return from Dubai.”
It reminded Buhari: “As an opposition presidential candidate from 2003 to 2015, none of his children or family members was in anyway attacked or victimised by the government in power. He should, therefore, stop importing such vicious underhand tactics into our political hemisphere.”
The PDP added: “Similarly, last week, all transactions in bank accounts belonging to PDP vice presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, his wife, his family members and their businesses were stopped by agencies of the Buhari presidency on account of the imaginary investigation.”
But the EFCC denied ever going after the Atikus, sayings its operation instead targeted two men over an alleged money laundering case.
Its acting spokesman, Tony Orilade, told The Guardian the commission had been on the trail of cars allegedly bought by the sons of former Abia State governor, Theodore Orji. He said an investigation showed that Orji allegedly laundered money through his sons.
He explained: “Last Friday, we traced the car to a nightclub in Abuja. In order not to cause panic, we waited until the business of the club was over and when the owner of the car came to enter to take off, we arrested him and his friend who has a similar brand.
“That was about 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 8, 2018. The two boys we arrested were Ogbonna Orji and Kelvin Ilonah. While Orji’s car, a Range Rover is valued at about N100 million, Kelvin’s car, also a Range, is valued at about N35 million.
“In the course of further interrogation, the two boys led us to their apartment – three flats. Documents retrieved from the apartment showed it was rented for N13 million each per annum. Another brand new Prado Jeep, 2017 model, was recovered from the boys. The two boys in question gave useful information to the commission, which is helping in our investigation.”
The presidency, on its part, dismissed the report as a fabrication. In a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, it said: “The story about the raid ‘ordered by the Buhari-led government’ on the home of PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s son and the fairy tale on the alleged blockage of the bank accounts of the running mate, Peter Obi, and his family are both untrue and should be dismissed as just another manifestation of the PDP’s growing expertise in fake news.
“Nigerians must be becoming wary by now of a political party with absolutely nothing to offer in the coming elections and has instead transformed into a knight in shining armour, slaying the truth. In this so-called transformation, PDP has changed into nothing but to a ceaselessly flowing stream of fake news. It is impossible to find in Nigeria today anyone propagating fake news more than the PDP. Our advice to Nigerians is: ignore them.”
Pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) meanwhile has condemned alleged bias in EFCC operations.
“We are compelled to wonder if there is a sinister plot from the topmost holder of political office in Aso Rock to scuttle the 2019 elections, going by the several turndowns of the amendments to the Electoral Act by the president alongside the freezing of the legitimate earnings of the family of the running mate to the PDP’s presidential candidate, and even the open threats to Peter Obi’s life and those of his family members by unknown supporters of APC and the behaviour of EFCC as the armed militant wing of APC,” the group said in a statement yesterday.
Source: Guardian Newspaper.