By Ngozi Onyeakusi
The Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation yesterday warned that the travel restriction placed on 50 prominent Nigerians by the government could lead to capital flight and drag the country back to economic recession.
In a statement, the organisation said the affected individuals are suspected of having property overseas and are involved in tax dodging or other alleged financial infractions.
The statement said: “Thus, we find it most undemocratic that in a nation governed by the rule of law, a President who swore an oath to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does this.
“If past events are to be the judge, these 50 individuals will conveniently be critics and opponents of the Buhari administration.
“This is nothing short of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections. This is what the Buhari administration did in Osun where they froze the accounts of the Adeleke family and then illegally and clandestinely paid ¦ 16.7 billion to the Osun State government to facilitate daylight electoral robbery.
“To show how clueless this administration is, it included late former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, as number 30 on its travel ban list.
‚ÄúThe question Nigerians should ask is this: can an administration that is unable to distinguish between the living and the dead bring life to Nigeria‚Äôs economy?‚ÄĚ
Stating that the Nigerian Constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen freedom of movement and freedom of association, the Atiku camp insisted that this right cannot be taken away except by a court order.
“If the Buhari administration wants to curtail the rights of Nigerians, then they must go to court and obtain a court order. Anything short of this is unconstitutional and extrajudicial.
‚ÄúThis sudden dictatorial act brings to mind President Buhari‚Äôs comments for which he was condemned by the international community and by the generality of Nigerians‚ÄĚ, the statement added.
In the light of the restriction order, the campaign organisation recalled President Buhari’s submission while delivering an address at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on August 26, 2018.
At that event, President Buhari was quoted to have said, ‚ÄúWhere national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society‚ÄĚ.
The Atiku camp described the President’s position as a faulty interpretation of the constitution, adding that the statement also betrayed the dictatorial and authoritarian mindset of President Buhari; as only decides who and what threatens national security.
Continuing, the statement said: “It is a throwback to Buhari’s evil Decree Number Two of 1984 which criminalised truth telling if it did not please Buhari, proving that dictators can grow old, but they can’t grow into democrats.
“Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented capital flight out of the nation to the extent that we are not even listed amongst the top ten recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the latest ranking by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
“It is salient to note that we were number one under the last Peoples Democratic Party administration.
“Funny enough, the Buhari administration was unable to stop Abdulrasheed Maina, their financier, from leaving the country after he was illegally brought back by them and reinstated to the federal service with double promotion.
‚ÄúIt is precisely this type of draconian orders that have chased investors away from Nigeria and it is precisely why Nigerians will chase this recession friendly government away from power on February 16, 2019, so we can begin the job of getting Nigeria working again‚ÄĚ.