A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Josef Enoh, has berated the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their recent comments against the Supreme Court.
Recall that Obi had, in a World Press Conference on Monday, chided the apex court for its ruling on the 2023 presidential election and for affirming the election of President Bola Tinubu.
Also, during an interview on Arise Television, Baba-Ahmed stated that the Supreme Court upheld the unconstitutionality of the 2023 presidential election and did not affirm the election of the President.
In a statement on Wednesday, Enoh said the “unguarded comments” made by Obi and his running mate were capable of causing violence in the country and could bring hatred against the current government.
The APC chieftain added that the comments made by the LP leaders could instigate members of the public to want to take over the government by unlawful means.
Enoh, therefore, asserted that there would be consequences for the statements, which could be termed as a treasonable felony, made against President Bola Tinubu and the judiciary.
He said: “In my opinion, exercising freedom of expression doesn’t amount to treason. But Baba-Ahmed’s freedom of expression ought to have been limited by law, being fully aware of the Presidential election tribunal and Supreme Court judgments; hence, his current statement and that of Peter Obi can be at best defined as a treasonable felony.
“I want to sound as a warning to Baba-Ahmed Datti, Peter Obi, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and all other Nigerians with political interest exercising the habit of holding that the Constitution guarantees free speech and freedom of expression.
Irrespective of the fact that Section 39 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression and the press, and ordinarily, this right covers all forms of communication, including that of Baba-Ahmed Datti as currently made, the same Nigerian Constitution also allows for permissible limitations to that right.
“However, just like every other right guaranteed under the fourth Chapter of the Constitution, Datti should not forget that the right to freedom of expression has certain limitations, including the law of defamation, hate speech, sedition, cyber-bullying, etc.
“Section 45 of the Constitution allows for the derogation of the right to freedom of expression in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health. The laws criminalising sedition and treasonable utterances were made according to Section 45 of the Constitution, as it relates to public safety, order and defence.
“A final warning to Baba-Ahmed Datti and the rest who have failed to realise that there’s a limit to political rascality.
“Following the same ideology, the Administration of President Bola Tinubu, with the support of all Nigerians, we will collectively build a do-it-yourself nation instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Nigeria.
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“Be assured that any further unguarded and insightful comments from any quarter will no longer be tolerated and will be met with equal consequences within the ambient of the law. If you wish to dare our resolve, you will not have the luxury to go and verify.”
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