Former Governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has described Sunday’s police disruption of the rally organised by the Save Rivers Movement as a coup against democracy.
In a strongly-worded statement last night, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, said the “brutal disruption” of the rally by Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu on the directive of the Goodluck Jonathan administration adds “another dimension to the dangerous course this government has charted.”
Tinubu said: “The People of Rivers State and of the Save Rivers Movement did nothing wrong. What the police did was criminal. The violent and direct attack on Senator Magnus Abe is a frontal assault against democracy.
“The Jonathan government, which is supposed to protect the public order, now constitutes threats against the very thing they have pledged to uphold. The police have been unleashed on the people.”
The former governor also wondered why the police felt compelled to shoot and beat “unarmed fellow citizens” whose only offence was the difference of their political affiliation to the Federal Government. He said the events in Rivers showed a disdain for the law and its rule.
He condemned the Police for the role it played in the event saying it had become a tool of political oppression. “The police no longer arrest, they are primed to shoot first and ask questions later.
“We are supposed to live in a constitutional democracy, but we are burdened with a Police Force that has now become an agent provocateur and a tool of political oppression. They are the partisan, strong-arm division of the Jonathan Presidency.”
Giving the Jonathan administration more flaks, Tinubu said the Federal Government wanted to break down democratic institutions in the country. He said the presidency cannot take away the “alienable rights” of Nigerians to associate with any political party of their choice.
“Sadly, a Presidency that was a major beneficiary of constitutional democracy conspires in Abuja to desecrate our political rights and mortgages our democracy.
“This government doles out money from the public treasury, not the private pockets of the Abuja despots to service hired mercenaries and political thugs. It is a deep tragedy that the public’s money is being used to employ people and weapons to shoot at the public. This is the depth of political immorality.”
He accuses Jonathan of lording it over Nigerians, saying that the Jonathan Presidency is willing to sacrifice the lives of countless Nigerians so that it can continue to lord it over Nigerians.
“If they could shoot a current Senator in broad daylight on a Sunday, imagine the mayhem they will set upon the average citizen seeking to advance his political rights. Their purpose is not to govern Nigeria but to break down the rule of law and our democratic institutions so that they may own Nigeria.
“The illegal conduct of the Police in Rivers should be called what it is; it is uniformed gangsters, a coup against democracy. The rights and the protection guaranteed to the Nigerian people should never be a function of the party they are affiliated with. Under the current Jonathan government, we move towards fascism.”
Tinubu called on the National Assembly to stop the impunity before it is too late. “The National Assembly must rise to its statutory responsibility in defence of the people’s rights and to exercise legislative oversight of an executive branch through the police and a Presidency that has lost all sense of democratic balance and fair play.
“If the Assembly does not rise at this junction, things will only worsen and at some point, they will be forced to confront the violent misbehaviour of a government intent on perpetuating itself.”
He called on Nigerians to set themselves in “vocal and sure opposition” to the authoritarian evolution of the Jonathan administration, while urging the international community to prevail on the Jonathan administration not to push the people to the wall.