The National Conservative Front headed by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Umar Na’Abba and former presidential candidate, Pat Utomi, today, threatened a ‘major mass action’ in protest against the invitation of former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The group said it will take action if any harm befalls Mailafia or any of its leaders.
A statement by the group’s Head of Public Affairs Bureau and former presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party, Tanko Yunusa, said the invitation scheduled for Monday in Jos would be coming on the heels of a similar one by the Nigerian Police which is currently being contested in court.
The statement read in part, “We demand that nothing untoward should happen to any of our leaders and associates to avoid a major mass action. The NCFront 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.
“We, therefore, unequivocally condemn this maltreatment of a respectable Nigerian like him and we stand firmly by him in this hour of his travails. Painting Mailafia in a bad light and attempting to pin on him an image of criminality is not only preposterous but also sinister.
“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 dissention.
“We, as concerned citizens, have reviewed Mailafia’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, especially the Police and the DSS.
“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 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.”