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PDP urges Trump to caution Buhari over anti-democratic, human rights abuses

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Donald Trump of the United States, to call President Muhammadu Buhari to order in view of the series of alleged anti-democratic and anti-human rights abuses that the administration has been accused of.The party equally urged Trump to take President Buhari to task on constitutional and human rights violations in the country under his watch, as already detailed in the report by the US Department of State.

At a media briefing in Abuja, yesterday, the party’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “We also urge all international organisations, particularly, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take note of the horrendous situation in our country and spare no energy in intervening to stem this ugly trend. Let the truth be told, Nigeria is bleeding under President Buhari and the world must come to her rescue. We also pray that President Buhari will not use the occasion of his visit to further de-market our nation as he has always done whenever he is outside the country on official assignment.”

Ologbondiyan continued:
“Nigeria is facing a perilous time; our constitution has been technically suspended; we have now become a police state; governance has reverted to the nightmares of the 1984 era, when draconian leaders held sway and forcefully held our people under the grips of military Decree 2.

“There is a total collapse of respect for constitutionally guaranteed personal freedom; there is no regard for natural course of justice, life in Nigeria is gradually returning to the state of nature and there is fear everywhere, he said, adding, “today, Nigerians are being hounded, arrested and directly detained on ‘order from above,’ without warrant; citizens are locked up in dehumanising detention centres without access to medicare and legal assistance, just for holding political opinions that run contrary to the views of those in power at the centre,” he added.
 
The party recalled that the 2017/2018 Amnesty International (AI) Human Rights report confirmed cases of extreme human right violations under the Buhari administration, including extra-judicial execution, forceful crackdown on peaceful protesters as particularly witnessed in the South East between September 2017 and January 2018, as well as, torture and killings in custody. Many arrested protesters are still in detention without trial.

It further alleged that government’s inaction and aloofness have led to escalation of killings in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Nasarawa, Edo, Zamfara, Ekiti, Enugu by insurgents and marauders, “who are having a field day as the Presidency has abandoned governance for 2019 re-election bid.
 

“Painfully, our democratic institutions, particularly the legislature, judiciary and even the media are being decapitated by dictatorial forces, who are encouraged by the agents of the state at the centre.”The PDP further stated that, “To achieve a total subjugation, there has been constant harassment and threats on judicial officers, some of them already compromised to circumvent judicial processes against opposition and perceived political opponents of government.
 
Meanwhile, Prof Tayo Adesina, who teaches history at the University of Ibadan with specialisation in United States history, has pointed out that migration issue is one of the problems the West has with Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general. And to address this challenge, President Buhari should engage America on developmental issues among other issues.

“Therefore, we should be engaging and discussing industrialisation and technological transfer with President Trump and the US government. Of all the topics, that should be the uppermost in our minds, not even arms. Arms is a one-off thing that once it is blown, it is gone, lets us begin to address issues of development that is very crucial.”

Adesina noted that if arms procurement should come into the discussions, then the main issue should be how the country can begin arms manufacturing, as well as how to make the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) in Kaduna come up, and function effectively. “There is a strong military industrial complex in the US, so lets see how we could get some of the manufacturers there to set up factories in Nigeria.”

On her part, Rosemary Oyinlola, who teaches International Relations and Politics at Covenant University, Ogun State said, “Since the dynamics of power relation between Nigeria and the US is not that of equal partner practically, although it is suggested to be so theoretically, I offer the following suggestion as possible talking point in the conversation.

“Nigeria’s image in the mind of the President of the US. What I have learnt over the years is that a people or country’s image in the mind of other leaders of the world, influences what they do to that nation; how they relate with citizens of that nation and the extent to which the nation is either reverred or despised, and even how decisions agreed on between the two nations are followed through.”

She further said the rise and fall of every nation sometimes depends on its image in the mind of the nation it relates with, noting that though it might be difficult to change the mind of a leader about other nation, the visit is an opportunity for Buhari to do damage control regarding all he has said about Nigeria on the global platform.

“From what he said in Germany to the recent one in London at the Commonwealth meeting, the role of a leader among others is to sell the positive image of its citizens abroad even though he is conscious of the frailties of her citizens and not living in denial of it. Trump has said all manner of unprintable things about Nigeria, the most popular been shithole nation and I think that should not be swept under the carpet.”

“Every discussion between African countries and any of the five permanent members of the United Nations is always expected to include talks on security. However in Nigeria’s case, I am beginning to be weary of that.

“There are pressing issues that require the attention of the president and not another official visit that does not address the core of Nigeria’s question or problem. The South African President left commonwealth meeting to attend to domestic issues, that to me that is leadership.”

Another teacher of International of International Relations, Oluwatobi Babatunde, said issues of strategic partnership and collaboration geared towards economic development and security should top Buhari’s talking point. “In other words, economic benefits, security and then security should be the order of priority in the talks. The US-Nigeria bilateral relations has always be cordial, and hinged on Nigeria’s strategic importance in the region and extensive trade in crude oil.”


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