The Ahmed Makarfi fraction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the presidency to give Nigerians update on the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dayo Adeyeye, spokesman of the Markafi group, said this in reaction to the expulsion of Olalekan Adetayo, state house correspondent of Punch, from the presidential villa in Abuja.
Although the presidency has distanced Buhari from the saga, PDP said the action by Bashir Abubakar, chief security officer to the president, was an attempt to gag the media and an assault on the country’s democracy.
“The PDP acknowledges Mr. President’s health challenges; and as a human being and an elder statesman, we quite understand the need for him to have adequate rest and continuous medical attention,” Adeyeye said in a statement.
“We are therefore not too surprised that the president has not in recent times been able to fully face the rigours of government and has to make very rare public appearances.
“This is pretty obvious to all Nigerians. The PUNCH story is therefore nothing extraordinary. It merely reflects what Nigerians already know with perhaps a little bit of speculative license. It therefore should not have elicited the extreme reaction from the president’s chief security officer.
“The media as the fourth estate of the realm is an important pillar of any democracy. Any attempt to gag the press in whatever guise is an abridgment of the rights of the people and a direct assault on our hard earned democracy.
“We therefore totally condemn the action of the president’s CSO. He must realise that we are in a democracy and not military dictatorship.
“For the umpteenth time, we want to reiterate that Nigerians deserve to know the health condition of their president. No one has the right or power to hide the president behind the curtain while dishing out instructions to Nigerians in the name of the president,” it read.
“We join all well meaning Nigerians to wish the president a speedy recovery and pray that the Lord Almighty will grant all that is required for him to fulfill his responsibilities to our dear country.”