The Buhari Media Organisation, (BMO) on Wednesday said political prisoners in Nigeria only exist in the imagination of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP)and its chairman, Uche Secondus.
BMO was reacting to a statement credited to the PDP chairman, Uche Secondus, who said President Muhammadu Buhari was keeping political prisoners in the country after the convener of Revolution Now protest, Omoyele Sowore was arrested.
In a statement by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO told Secondus that the claim exists only both in his imagination and that of his party.
“It is laughable that the chairman of what is supposed to be Nigeria’s main opposition party could so glibly suggest that President Buhari is holding political prisoners.
“If there is any comment that can be tagged irresponsible, this is it. It shows that Secondus has little or no clue on who a political prisoner is. Or maybe he is just being mischievous, as opposition elements have been after the massive loss their presidential candidate suffered in the February 23 2019 election.
“We are mindful of the fact that there is a handful of high profile individuals in lawful custody, but they all have cases in court that have nothing to do with their political stand which determines whether someone is being held for purely political reasons
“We need to also inform the PDP chairman that there is an international convention that stipulates that those deprived of their personal liberty for terrorist crimes shall not be considered political prisoners if they are being prosecuted for such crimes, according to national legislation.
“So how could the PDP national chairman on this basis accuse the Buhari administration of refusing to release those he claimed are political prisoners, when no one in lawful custody qualifies to be described as such,” the group said.
BMO also dismissed the coalition of 51 civil society organizations (CSO) which accused the government of restricting the civil space to groups on a fundraising drive.
“Just like PDP, these CSOs are just out to play to the gallery with their blanket allegations against the Buhari administration.
“Aside from name-checking Omoyele Sowore, the convener of the RevolutionNow protests, they could not come up with any other example to back up their claims that the government had been muzzling dissenting views and other grave allegations against the Buhari-led administration.
“We wonder why individuals behind the CSOs have failed to see that what Sowore did amounted to a call for an undemocratic regime change. They also pretend not to know that the security agency holding him is already in court to seek an order to detain him pending the conclusion of an investigation.
“But we are aware that there is intense competition across the world for donors, so it is not surprising that these organisations are on a drive to convince their funders to devote more money for Nigeria.
“In fact we are expecting them to ramp up their drive for funds in the coming months through various activities with which they have to prove to donor agencies that there is a lot of job to be done in the country.
“Our message to them and their funders is that nobody is being held for political reasons in the country and none, not even government critics, would suffer the type of fate that was visited on Nigerians in the past.”
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