Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday morning stormed the Abuja home of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, and took him away to their headquarters in Wuse 11, Abuja. This is even as the national leadership of opposition PDP on Tuesday declared Metuh’s arrest as the last straw that may break the nation’s democracy, adding that there are top directives to break or possibly poison the party’s spokesman while in EFCC custody.
The EFCC operatives, who stormed Metuh’s Abuja residence were four in number and came in a white unmarked Toyota Hiace bus. The officials of the antigraft agency, upon enquiry, however said Metuh was not being arrested but was being ‘friendly’ invited. Metuh’s arrest was confirmed in a statement on Tuesday by his Special Assistant, Mr. Richard Ihediwa, in Abuja. The statement by Ihediwa reads: “Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrived the Abuja home of the spokesman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, this morning (Tuesday), inviting him to follow them to the commission’s headquarters. “Upon enquiry on the reasons for the invitation, the officials stated that he has some issues to clear with the commission. They also said he was not being arrested but friendly invited.
“The operatives, four in number, came in a white unmarked Toyota Hiace bus. “As at the time of issuing this statement, Chief Metuh, was still being kept at the commission’s headquarters and his lawyers were making frantic efforts to reach him. “While details of why Chief Metuh was invited is yet to be made public by the commission, it could be recalled that severally, Chief Metuh, as the mouthpiece of the opposition party had alerted in various press conferences and statements that he has been under threat and that the ruling party and the government have been very uncomfortable with his stance. “The latest being the outburst and threats by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, in reaction to Chief Metuh’s criticisms of President Buhari’s widely criticized response on government’s disobedience of court orders, during the last Wednesday’s Presidential Media chat.
“The Office of the National Publicity Secretary will keep the public updated on any development on the issue”, the statement said. Meanwhile, reacting to Metuh’s arrest, the national leadership of PDP, on Tuesday described his arrest as the last straw that may break the nation’s democracy. The PDP national leadership added that that information available to them indicated that there are top directives to break or possibly poison the party’s spokesman while in EFCC custody. The opposition party lamented that since Metuh was arrested at about 10 am on Tuesday by the operatives of the EFCC, he had been kept incommunicado, with his lawyers denied access to him. The National Secretary of the PDP, Prof Adewale Oladipo, in a statement Tuesday evening, said that Metuh’s arrest was a continuation of APC’s grand design to silence and decimate the PDP.
The statement reads: “The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demands an immediate release of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, who was Tuesday morning invited and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “This development, which did not come to us as a surprise, given series of threats to our party’s spokesman by the APC and the Federal Government, who are obviously not comfortable with our stance on the confused state of the nation under their watch, is a continuation of APC’s grand design to silence and decimate the PDP.
“The arrest of Chief Metuh today underscores the growing political intolerance in our country and the foisting of a police state which was last Wednesday underscored by the President and Commander-inChief himself, who defended why a government in a democracy should flout constitutional provision and brazenly disobey court orders. “This onslaught against our spokesman, according to intelligence available to us, is part of a larger script by the government to ensure that PDP wings are finally clipped in their mission to install a dictatorial one-party state in the country.
“The excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution. “Nigerians and the international community will recall that on a number of occasions, the PDP, through its spokesman has been outspoken on some undemocratic proclivities being exhibited by the APC-led Federal Government in the last seven months. “The PDP insists that for whatever reason Chief Metuh was arrested, his rights as a citizen under the law must not be trampled upon. “We therefore demand for his immediate release and that due process of investigation and prosecution concerning him should be strictly adhered to.