President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has reacted to a press release issued by the Nigeria Police over the protest staged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Saraki’s reaction was contained in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser on Media.
He said police made various forms of spurious, unfounded and false claims about the protest in which they singled out three senators, Saraki, Senators Dino Melaye and Ben Murray-Bruce, of the many leaders of the PDP, including three Governors, a former Governor, presidential aspirants and members of the national working committees, and accused them of involvement “in the disturbance of public safety, unlawful blockade of Shehu Shagari Way.”
He said: “After carefully reading the Police statement, one cannot but describe the claims made in it as laughable, crude and and another low point in the posture of the police against the opposition in the country.
“In exercise of their constitutional rights of assembly, expression and movement, leaders of the PDP decided to stage a peaceful procession from the party’s campaign office on Ibrahim Babangida Way to INEC and Police Headquarters. The procession consisted of the Senate President, the party national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, presidential aspirants, members of the National Assembly, Governors of Ekiti and Sokoto States. Later, the Governors of Taraba and Gombe States joined the procession.
“The purpose was to express the opposition of the PDP to the manner in which the electoral body and the security agencies had been colluding with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to manipulate election results and subvert the will of the people, as evidenced by the conduct of the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun State. We wanted to send a clear signal that such official subversion of the will of the people in favour of the APC should not be repeated in the 2019 elections.”
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