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nPDP halts talks with Presidency

TALKS between the Presidency and members of the aggrieved new Peoples Democratic Party (n PDP) have been suspended.

Members of the group are alleging that Senate President Bukola Saraki is being persecuted. They claim also that security aides of the National Assembly’s principal officers have been withdrawn.

The nPDP said it was also angered by the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to go ahead  with the ratification  of all the congresses from wards, local governments, states and zones  where many of its members had complaints.

It alleged that the Presidency was not interested in the talks and might have been negotiating in bad faith.

The group described the prevailing political environment  in the country as “fouled and toxic”.

Based on the alleged infractions, the nPDP said it might not be available for talks unless good faith returns to the discussions.

The scheduled session of all the parties in Abuja yesterday was aborted  as a result of the protest.

The decision of the nPDP was contained in a statement by its chairman, Alh. Abubakar Kawu Baraje.

The statement said: “The public may recall that there have been ongoing talks between members of the former nPDP, the APC and the Presidency in recent days.

“Nigerians may further recall that a team from the former nPDP led by Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Yakubu Dogara and four others, were to meet with the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo today.

“However, while we are truly and earnestly committed to achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion in the APC as we approach the 2019 general elections, it  appears that the Presidency is not interested in the talks and that they may have been negotiating in bad faith.

“We were alarmed that immediately after our meeting with the Vice President last week, the Presidency misrepresented  what transpired at the meeting by trying to blackmail some of the principal actors involved in the discussions in a national daily.

“Similarly, the leadership of the party (APC) went ahead to ratify all the Congresses from ward, local governments, states and zonal  where many of our members have complaints, effectively presenting us with a fait accompli.”

It faulted Saraki’s and Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s implication  in the Offa robbery attack.

The statement added: “The persecution of our members, using state security apparatus, have continued unabated.

“We recognise the powers of the Police to conduct criminal investigations but by rushing to the public with the issue even when they have unfettered access to the leadership of the National Assembly suggests an attempt to undermine, caricature and humiliate the institution of the legislature.”

To the group, “it appears that there is a fouled and toxic atmosphere and environment of intimidation and threat to life in which we now find ourselves which may no longer be conducive for members of the former nPDP to continue with the talks, given the unfolding events in the last 24 hours”.

It said Saraki and Ahmed , both of whom attended the meeting with the Vice President on 28 May, “have suddenly been accused of sponsoring armed robbery by the Police”.

“Similarly, on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018,  the Department of State of Services (DSS) also suddenly withdrew more than half of all the security detail attached to the  presiding officers of the National Assembly under questionable circumstances.

“  The nPDP leadership has decided to  brief our members on the unfortunate development and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions,” the group said.

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