7th September, 2013
Nigeria’s Police authorities today shut the headquarters of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje.
The police claimed to be acting on the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday about the status of the two factions of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The shut down of the New PDP Secretariat was applauded by the Bamanga Tukur led group. In contrast, the Abubakar Kawu Baraje group thumbed it down as sheer impunity.
The Tukur PDP claimed the police action was in conformity with an interim ruling of the court that held that the splinter group should not operate or parade themselves as leaders of the PDP until the hearing of the suit before it.
Olisa Metuh, publicity secretary of the old PDP said that when the court ordered that the warring parties to maintain status quo ante bellum until the determination of the case, “the court clearly granted the request of the PDP that the group led by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje should not operate or be recognized by INEC.”
In another statement, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, secretary of the new PDP, claimed the old PDP and the police misinterpreted the court order.
“The whole world knows that Justice E. Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Friday refused to grant Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s application for an ex parte injunction against our party’s executive.
“The Judge asked parties to maintain the status quo. His judgment was a reinforcement of an earlier order of the Lagos High Court which also asked parties to maintain the status quo.
“Now, should Nigerians conclude that Tukur’s interpretation of status quo is this crude display of naked power and undisguised impunity?
“We are not at all surprised at this occurrence given the fact that Tukur issued a statement on Friday evening deliberately seeking to mislead the media and the public that Justice Chukwu granted him an injunction against us. We are happy that the ever vigilant Nigerian press ignored him and his falsehood. Now, he is not only wilfully disobeying the various courts which have made pronouncements on this matter, he is spicing up his love for impunity with this reckless misuse of state power by misleading the police.
“We call for an immediate removal of the siege to our secretariat. We call on the Inspector General of police to order the immediate removal of his men from our office. Doing so, we believe, will serve the interest of justice, rule of law and democracy. Nigeria is a country ruled by law and not by might and force.
“We hasten to say that if this move is aimed at breaking our spirit, that goal is definitely off the mark. We are determined to rescue our party from the lawlessness and crass arrogance that have defined the character of the Tukur leadership since inception. Our party needs that deliverance, its members deserve the change we have brought into it.”
Oyinlola wondered why Tukur, who appeared before the party’s elders on Friday started another round of acts of impunity.
But, Metuh said: “By the order of the court, no person is authorized by law to open a secretariat or operate under the name, colour and flag of the PDP other than the one led by Alhaji Bamanaga Tukur. The sealing off of the secretariat opened by the Baraje group under the name, colour and flag of the PDP is therefore in order and in line with the law”