Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, spent Tuesday night in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The party has however demanded his immediate release, accusing the Federal Government of plot to poison the chief opposition politician.
Metuh, who was arrested by four operatives of the anti-graft agency at his Abuja home, is answering questions on how the sum of N1.4 billion was transferred from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) into a company, Destra, linked to him.
Metuh had stated that former President, Goodluck Jonathan gave him a job to do and that he successfully completed the said job, but failed to say what it was and how much he was paid for and when.
The revelation by Metuh, according to EFCC officials, prompted the agency to beam its searchlight on cash payments from the ONSA, leading to the discovery that he was one of the major beneficiaries of slush funds, now a subject of investigation and prosecution by the Federal Government.
It was learnt that out of the $2.1 billion arms funds, N400 million was transferred from ONSA to the company on November 24, 2014 which previously had a balance of N6, 676,576.06 only before the major transfer from the ONSA.
A source in the EFCC told Vanguard that Metuh was also receiving a monthly pay of N4 million from ONSA.
Metuh, has, however criticised his arrest by the EFCC, claiming that he was being persecuted.
“I have not done anything unlawful. Whatever I have done in pursuance of my office, I can defend it anywhere, any time,” he said.
The PDP has said the arrest of its spokesperson was no surprise as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has “obviously not (been) comfortable with our stance on the confused state of the nation under their watch”.
The party, in a statement by its national secretary, Wale Oladipo, said the arrest of Mr. Metuh underscores the growing political intolerance in the country and the foisting of a police state which was last Wednesday underscored by the President and Commander-in-Chief himself, who “defended why a government in a democracy should flout constitutional provision and brazenly disobey court orders”.
PDP said it has “intelligence” that the arrest of its spokesperson, “is part of a larger script by the government to ensure that PDP wings are finally clipped in their mission to install a dictatorial one-party state in the country.
“The excesses of security agencies under this government, especially the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) and the EFCC, in abridging the human rights of PDP members have become worrisome and a threat to our democratic evolution.
“Nigerians and the international community will recall that on a number of occasions, the PDP, through its spokesman has been outspoken on some undemocratic proclivities being exhibited by the APC-led Federal Government in the last seven months.
“The PDP insists that for whatever reason Chief Metuh was arrested, his rights as a citizen under the law must not be trampled upon. We therefore demand (for) his immediate release and that due process of investigation and prosecution concerning him should be strictly adhered to.
“We state this because we have been made aware of top directives to break Chief Metuh and if possible poison him during his detention by the EFCC,” the party said.
The party said Mr. Metuh has, since his arrest at about 10 am on Tuesday, has been kept incommunicado, with his lawyers denied access to him.
The PDP also described the arrest of Mr. Metuh as the last straw that may break Nigeria’s democracy.
“We therefore forewarn the Federal Government and its agencies to save our democracy and forthwith release our National Publicity Secretary.
“We are also calling on the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to stand up for this democracy, which our party nurtured for 16 years and deepened to a level where the opposition, for the first time in our political history, had the opportunity to win in a general election,” the party said.