The presidency on Wednesday denied allegations by the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi, stating that some of his supporters were secretly arrested.
Naija News recalls that on Tuesday, Obi had condemned the intimidation of some of his supporters via a statement.
He had said, “Recent reports of OBIdients being silently arrested by some security agents is extremely disturbing and condemnable.
“We must ensure that everyone is given a level playing field in the forthcoming elections, and that no eligible Nigerian, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation is disenfranchised, more so through violence and intimidation.”
However, a presidency source informed Vanguard that all political parties under President Muhammadu Buhari administration have the absolute constitutional and God-given right to campaign openly and without hindrance.
The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Obi’s assertions were unfounded and both the Nigeria Police Force, (NPF) and the Department of State Services, (DSS) had confirmed that no arrests were made.
According to the source, “The democratic process in Nigeria is free and fair and all candidates – whether those from the established parties or minor ones – have the absolute constitutional and God-given right to campaign openly and without hindrance.
“What is also the case is that anyone who breaks the law whether they are a supporter of the government party or opposition – must be held to account for their actions.
If, for instance, opposition parties’ supporters damage private property in the course of a campaign, march or rally, should they not be held to account? For instance, governing party supporters defame an opposition figure should they not be held to account? Of course they all should.”
Speaking further, the source revealed that the only arrest they are aware of was an LP member by the name Joseph Chimezie ONUORAH with the Passport No: A12553760 who arrived Nigeria aboard Air France.
He explained that Chimezie was arrested at about 2230hrs at the E wing of MMIA Lagos by the Nigerian Immigration Service at the instance of the Lagos State Police Investigation Bureau for an investigation that concerned him.
He went on to urge political candidates to refrain from making public statements that could raise tensions and make the prospect of aggressive physical behaviour more likely.
“Accusations that individuals have been “silently arrested” – and no one, frankly, knows what that description is supposed to mean is an example of a statement made by a politician without any known foundation with the express intention of raising the temperature in this electoral contest.
“That cannot be good for democracy that thrives on facts and thinking, not on false statements and fiction,” he added.