Federal Government has put about 50 prominent Nigerians on its watch list in its resolve to fully implement Executive Order 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday.
The presidential spokesman said the prominent Nigerians put on the watch list had also been restrained from travelling outside the country pending determination of their cases in court.
But Peoples Democratic Party, which believed its members, among others, were the targets of the watch list and the travel ban, has berated Buhari, describing the move as full-blown fascism.
Also, the CUPP said the government move was the final unveiling of tyranny.
Shehu said following the judicial affirmation of the constitutionality and legality of the Executive Order, Buhari had mandated Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to implement the order in full force.
He however did not name the affected persons.
He said, “A number of enforcement procedures are currently in place by which Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high-profile persons, directly affected by EO6, on (their) watch list and restricted them from leaving the county pending determination of their cases.
“Also, financial transactions of these persons of interest are being monitored by relevant agencies to ensure that the assets are not dissipated and such persons do not interfere with, nor howsoever, corrupt the investigation and litigation processes.
“It is instructive to note that EO6 was specifically directed to relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that all assets, within a minimum value of N50m or equivalent, subject to investigation or litigation, are protected from dissipation by employing all available lawful means, pending the final determination of any corruption-related matter.”
Shehu reiterated the present administration’s commitment to the fight against corruption in accordance with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the general principles of the Rule of Law.
“Accordingly, this administration will uphold the rule of law in all its actions and the right of citizens would be protected as guaranteed by the Constitution,” he said.
PDP, CUPP condemn travel ban, monitoring of dignitaries
But PDP has rejected the travel ban, saying the action was an attempt by the Presidency to foist what it called a full-blown fascism on the country.
The opposition party stated, “This draconian step is clearly targeted at members of the opposition parties, perceived political enemies of Mr Buhari, well-meaning Nigerians, including members of the business community, religious leaders, former political leaders and traditional rulers, who are perceived to be averse to President Buhari’s re-election bid.”
National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement in Abuja on Saturday that “this ‘decree’ is a direct clampdown on our democratic order and an overthrow of the rights of our citizenry as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Ologbondiyan added, “The whole world can now see how fascism is fast taking over our democracy and judicial system and how the Buhari administration, by fiat, has directly ordered that citizens be secretly trailed, their movements and financial transactions restricted by government agencies without recourse to due process of law.
“While PDP notes that Buhari Presidency has gone into panic mode since the popular emergence of Mr Atiku Abubakar as PDP presidential candidate and the spontaneous jubilation his emergence has evoked across the country, the party maintains that resort to total clampdown on the opposition and our supporters will be totally unacceptable.”
Ologbondiyan believed the alleged ‘nightmare’ must end on May 29, 2019.
In its reaction, however, acting National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Yekini Nabena, said the President’s action was in tandem with the dictates of the law.
Nabena added, “We don’t know whopposition PDP is afraid of. Like I told you before, the President is acting within his powers. The war against corruption is real and only those who have something to hide are afraid. As a party, we support Mr. President in the war against corruption.”
Also, CUPP, in a statement on Saturday by its spokesperson, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, said the President’s action was “the final unveiling of forewarned tyranny.”
It stated, “Recall that CUPP had warned Nigerians that a desperate Buhari, realising that he had already lost the favour of Nigerians, would bare his tyrannical fangs and intimidate opposition.”
According to the coalition, key opposition leaders, who are part of the international negotiation team, are all on the list.
It added, “The action of the President is nothing but another futile attempt by the Presidency to muscle the opposition and deny them the required funds for the election; but this is coming too late in time as Nigerian electorate is already fully mobilised and ready to punish bad governance with their votes.”
In similar vein, a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, argued that the 50 prominent persons banned from travelling were members of the opposition.
Fani-Kayode, in a statement on Saturday, said, “The ban on 50 prominent Nigerians, who are all members of the opposition from travelling out of the country by Buhari’s Executive Order and the power to confiscate their assets even though they have not been empowered to do so by a court of law or convicted of any offence, are utterly shameful and condemnable.
“Buhari is so desperate to remain in power that he has now resorted to attempting to muzzle and intimidate the opposition. He forgets that he is not God and that he will soon leave power.”