*Condemns opposition’s attacks on Police Headquarters
*Says issue-based campaigns way to go
*Re-iterates calls on Saraki, Dogora to quit NASS leadership
*Saraki, Dino Melaye, others yet to heed Police summon over violence
By BASHIR ADEFAKA
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives (APC), in strong terms, has condemned the Friday’s violent protest said to have been led by National Chairman of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some other leaders of the party including Senate President Bukola Saraki, PDP governors and ranking federal lawmakers members of the party.
It described the development whereby, according to the ruling Party, the PDP leaders and hired thugs unleashed attacks on police officers at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters as irresponsible, shameful and reckless.
The shocking footage of PDP leaders backed by the thugs trying to forcibly break the police cordon at the apex seat of the nation’s foremost security agency, the APC said, is a new height of opposition’s “rascality and penchant for violence”.
These were contained in an afternoon statement issued by Acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Yekini Nabena, copy of which was sent to The DEFENDER.
According to the statement, political parties particularly the PDP should stick to issue-based actions and campaigns as, it added that, violent actions, childish theatrics by tree-climbing and commonsense senators, falsehood and propaganda will earn the opposition the sympathy votes of Nigerians.
The APC said, “The Nigerian electorate are more interested in how to bring the country out of the rubble PDP administrations left us and refocus the country on the path of true progress and development,” it warned opposition.
“The All Progressives (APC) strongly condemns the irresponsible, shameful and reckless actions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, PDP state governors, ranking PDP federal lawmakers who led hired thugs in a failed attempt to forcibly enter the Nigeria Police headquarters under the guise of a ‘protest’.
“If the PDP’s confrontation with the Police was an attempt to copy APC leaders peaceful protests in Abuja, ahead of the 2015 elections, it was a low-budget imitation and terribly-acted script.
“The shocking footage of PDP leaders backed by their hired thugs trying to forcibly break the police cordon is a new height of PDP’s rascality and penchant for violence. The PDP must restrain itself from its usual retrogressive actions and antics which unnecessarily creates tension in the polity. The PDP’s actions at the Police Headquarters could easily have led to injuries and loss of lives.
“As we enter the period of campaigns and electioneering, we urge political parties, particularly the PDP and its agents to stick to issue-based actions and campaigns. Violent actions, childish theatrics by tree-climbing and commonsense senators, falsehood and propaganda will not cut it for Nigerians.
“The Nigerian electorate are more interested on how to bring the country out of the rubble PDP administrations left us and refocus the country on the path of true progress and development.
“Finally, we urge the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to immediately vacate their usurped positions and allow for the reconvening of the National Assembly to attend to urgent and pressing national issues which require legislative attention at plenary.”
In the meantime, as at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, Senator Dino Melaye and other PDP leaders who partook in the violent attacks on the security officers and Police Headquarters were yet to honour the invitation of the Nigeria Police regarding the same issue.
An account yet to be be fully confirmed has it that Senator Melaye threatened to beat up one of the police officers for resisting the protesters’ forceful entry into the Police premises, during the protest.
The DEFENDER reported early Saturday that the Nigeria Police Force, on Friday, had summoned the Saraki, Melaye, Ben Bruce and other leaders of the PDP who partook in the violent protest to appear before the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit for investigation over alleged disturbance of public peace and attack of some police personnel and the Headquarters of the Police Force, Abuja.
According to the police, the serving senators as well as some others yet to be identified were part of the Peoples Democratic Party protesters who paralysed activities along the Shehu Shagari Way and around the Force Headquarters, Abuja for several hours Friday afternoon.
A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP, Jimoh Moshood, same Friday said, “Today at about 1330Hrs, unruly and violent protesters who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in their hundreds with thugs and miscreants inside several trucks and vehicles blocked the Shehu Shagari way in front of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters creating a gridlock of traffic on the highway and preventing motorists, road users and other members of the public from having access and passage on Shehu Shagari way thereby disturbing public peace and public safety and causing innocent people to scamper for safety, suddenly the unruly/violent protesters surge and rushed violently on the Policemen posted to ensure safety of the Force Headquarters premises, pushing and hitting the Policemen to forcefully enter the Force Headquarters to cause damage to Police equipment and government properties”.
Moshood added that, the police team headed by a very Senior Police Officer however, used minimum force to disperse the protesters.
He said further that while Senator Melaye, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and others yet to be identified were recorded on camera pushing policemen to forcefully enter the Force Headquarters to damage and destroy police equipment and government properties, Senator Saraki was at the scene of the attack in his car also captured on camera.
“Consequently, Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Ben Bruce who were captured on camera to have been involved in the disturbance of public peace and public safety, unlawful blockade of Shehu Shagari way for several hours preventing motorists, road users and other members of the public from having access and passage on the highway thereby disturbing public peace and public safety and causing innocent people to scamper for safety and violent attack on Policemen posted to ensure security of the Force Headquarters, pushing and hitting the Policemen to forcefully enter the Force Headquarters to cause damage to Police equipment and government properties are hereby invited to report themselves to the IGP Monitoring Unit at the Force Headquarters on Monday, 8th October, 2018 for investigation”, the statement read.