The National Conscience Party (NCP) has strongly condemned the Muhammadu Buhari administration over the plan to hold a secret trial of former National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.
According to the NCP, the planned secret trial would introduce a dangerous precedent and jeopardize the ideal of fairness to Nigerian citizens. The party also declared that the plan was inconsistent with Mr. Buhari’s pledge of “change.”
The NCP’s position was contained in a statement distributed by the party’s national secretary, Ayodele Akele. The party drew attention to several international cases bordering on grave crime and terrorism that were not secretly tried.
The party condemned “any attempt to try Colonel Dasuki or any other Nigerian for that matter in camera,” the NCP stated.
The party asked, “What is the APC regime of President Buhari trying to hide from the members of the public?” It accused the Buhari administration of abandoning the business of governance it promised Nigerians, adding that the ruling party lacked a clear sense of direction.
The NCP said the ruling party had forsaken the atmosphere of general insecurity in the country, insurgency in the northeastern part of Nigeria, the still abducted Chibok girls, job creation, houses for the people, real wage for workers, health care, education, good roads, reduction in the price of petrol, unemployment benefits for jobless youths, feeding of school children, water, economic woes, the suffering of the masses, due process, accountability, the fight against corruption and other promises of change. The party contended that the “the government clearly has no direction.”
“For the records, when Nelson Mandela was arrested, detained for armed struggle and even classified as a terrorist, vicious as the then apartheid regime in South Africa, Mandela was not tried in camera,” said the party’s statement.
The statement added: “The trial of Saddam Hussein over allegations of crimes against humanity was open. We were all privileged to watch the trials as long as it lasted in our bedrooms/sitting rooms here in Nigeria from far away Baghdad, Iraq.
“Even the trial of and conviction of Bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan, for terrorism was open, not secret. The trial of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, at [The] Hague, was open. Examples of open trials of activists, politicians as perceived ‘terrorists’ are countless.
“The famous first-ever treason trial in Nigeria, in the First Republic against the then opposition leader, [the] late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was open and not shrouded in secrecy in spite of deep rooted animosities and political differences.
“In addition, in the recent years, leaders of ethnic groups with charges of treason or treasonable felony were never tried secretly, were granted bail, or discharged and acquitted in the final analysis.”
The party urged Nigerians to reject any plan to try Mr. Dasuki secretly, insisting that the issue should be seen as “a collective battle for all, but not a matter of party opposition.”
The party reminded Nigerians that the dreaded Decree 2 instituted by the late General Sani Abacha did not impose secret trials, adding that the Abacha dictatorship openly tried former President Olusegun Obasanjo and retired officer, Oladipo Diya.
“Why must Nigerians return to the dark ages under Buhari? Dasuki’s conviction would be a fait accompli once the trial is secret. It would be the beginning of tyranny in our land once again and could be anybody’s turn,” the party said. It issued a call to Nigerians to “protect our hard-earned freedom and future or else we would have voluntarily given away our hard-earned democratic values of freedom and equity.”
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