***Calls DSS to immediately release Yakassi
By Levinus Nwabughiogu – Abuja
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus, House of Representatives, on Sunday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of breaching democratic ethos by allowing the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest Tanko Salihi Yakassai, a former aide to Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje for criticising him.
The caucus recalled that Yakassai was arrested following his criticism of the authorities on the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in Zamfara State recently.
The PDP caucus in a statement signed by its leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State) faulted the arrest, saying it was against the freedom of expression guaranteed by 1999 constitution.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus, House of Representatives notes with utmost concern and dismay report of the arrest of Mr Tanko Salihi Yakassai, a former aide to Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State by agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) a few days ago.
“As a Caucus, we note with very serious concern, the continuous breach and denigration of democratic ethos and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Particularly in view of constitutionally guaranteed safeguards in Chapters IV thereof on freedom of speech, and also the provision of Section 14(1) of the said Constitution which provides that “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State base on the principles of democracy and social justice.
“Recall that only recently, some armed bandits abducted secondary school girls from a Zamfara State Government-owned secondary school in Jangebe, following which Mr Yakassai had criticized persons in authority, including President Muhammadu Buhari and reiterated our call for the resignation of the President over his failure to curb or effectively deal with the general state of insecurity across the country.
“Mr Yakassai had also lamented that the current administration has failed Nigerians at all levels which led to his removal as the Special Adviser on Media to the Kano State Governor”, Chida said.
Saluting “the stance, uncommon boldness, courage and statesmanship shown by Mr Yakassai and a few other Nigerians for standing firm to say the truth”, the caucus noted with utmost surprise and disappointment the rationale behind the arrest of Yakassai.
Also calling on the President to pay attention to Yakassai’s message, the PDP lawmakers sued for the immediate release of the former aide.
“We are indeed greatly worried and take cognisance of the fact that the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government has consistently failed in its responsibility of preserving the Constitution which he swore to defend and uphold, particularly with respect to the protection of the lives of Nigerians as guaranteed in S.14(2) of the Constitution and his social contract with Nigerians during his electioneering campaigns.
“We hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government to pay particular attention to the message (as delivered by Mr. Yakassai and other well meaning Nigerians), rather than focus on the messenger. For how long will he continue to fiddle while the country burns?
“Consequently, we hereby call on the DSS and other relevant authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Yakassai”, he said.