The National Consultative Front, NCFront has threatened to embark on a major mass action against the government if anything happens to the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia who was directed to report to the Jos head office of Department of State Security (DSS) on Monday, September 14.
Tanko Yunusa, NCFront Head, Public Affairs Bureau, in a statement, said the group, spearheaded by the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Umar Na’Abba and Pat Utomi, a former presidential candidate “believes in the right of every Nigerian to freely express themselves in civil society especially in a democracy as enshrined in the universal fundamental principles of human rights.
“This invitation to Mailafia is coming on the heels of a similar one for a so-called questioning, which is currently being contested in court,” they stated.
He said further in the statement “But we are shocked to discover that Nigeria today is being run like a dictatorship by the current administration, which has developed a great penchant for gaging Nigerian citizens, denying them of their constitutional rights of freedom of expression and peaceful dissent.”
“We, as concerned Citizens, have reviewed Dr Obadiah’s interviews, which was claimed to have prompted the curious invitation by security agencies and can not find any serious threat or breach in it to warrant his being constantly harassed by the security agencies.”
“We also note that Nigeria is currently bedeviled by aggravated insecurity that threatens the very existence of the country and would expect the security agencies to be preoccupied with dealing with such deadly existential threats against the country rather than concentrating all their energies on repressing a responsible citizen into silence.
In a democracy, the citizens are protected by the law to freely express themselves without any form of intimidation by the government. However, it is increasingly obvious that this government does not appreciate that vital component of democracy judging by the manners it has so far treated Nigerians who do not agree with its policies including journalists. This is not only unacceptable but absolutely reprehensible.”
“The NCFront hereby calls on the government to refrain forthwith from further harassment of Dr Obadiah Mailafia and other Leaders of the Front by calling its security agencies to order.
“We wish to state clearly that we consider the incessant harassment of our Leaders and Allies, including Dr Mailafia by the police and other security agencies as a serious threat to our constitutional rights and wellbeing. We demand that nothing untoward should happen to any of our Leaders and associates to avoid a major mass action.’
“For the avoidance of doubt, Obadiah Mailafia is an accomplished professional who, all his life, has worked for the progress and prosperity of Nigeria and has no criminal records anywhere in the world. He has served meritoriously as CBN’s deputy governor and performed creditably well in all other institutions he has served home and abroad. He does not deserve to be treated like a common criminal as he is currently being treated by the Nigerian State. We therefore unequivocally condemn this maltreatment of a respectable Nigerian like him and we stand firmly by him in this hour of his travails.”
“NCF considers incessant invitations and hours of punitive interrogation of Dr Mailafia as being injurious to his peace and wellbeing. He must not be allowed to go through this sort of torture simply because he granted a harmless interview and we have cause to believe that his life is in serious danger. Painting Dr Mailafia in a bad light and attempting to pin on him an image of criminality is not only preposterous but also sinister.
” The NCFront, as the main political alternative to the ruling powers in Nigeria, is however determined to ensure that the rights of every Nigerian are protected, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protests against policies of government that are inimical to the wellbeing of all Nigerians. No Nigerian must be made to feel like an outcast or second-class citizen in his/her country on account of speaking the truth to power.
“NCFront demands that all acts of citizens’ witch-hunting by security agencies must stop and Dr Obadiah Mailafia must be allowed to enjoy his constitutionally guaranteed freedom by stopping the incessant invitations to him for interrogations, as the matter for which he is being perennially invited for questioning is already before a competent court of law and therefore Nigeria’s Security agencies must be law-abiding in respecting the rule of law and allowing the ongoing judicial process takes precedence.
NCFront shall henceforth hold the security agencies, especially responsible for his wellbeing and safety.”