Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has condemned the travel ban placed on 50 prominent Nigerians by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement issued on his behalf by his campaign organisation, Abubakar said the ban is a throwback to the notorious “evil decree two” of 1984 enacted by the military government under Buhari.

He said the ban is a clampdown on citizens’ fundamental rights.

“We must be unequivocal in saying that we abhor any act of criminality, financially or otherwise, but the rule of law must be our guide at all times or society will descend to anarchy,” the statement read.

“Thus, we find it most undemocratic that in a nation governed by the rule of law, a President who swore an oath to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does this.

“The Nigerian Constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen freedom of movement and freedom of association. This Constitutional right cannot be taken away except by a court order.”

The Atiku campaign organisation asked the Buhari administration to go to court “if it wants to curtail the rights of Nigerians” as “anything short of this is unconstitutional and extrajudicial”.

“This sudden dictatorial act is a throwback to Buhari’s evil Decree Number Two of 1984 which criminalised truth telling if it did not please Buhari, proving that dictators can grow old, but they can’t grow into democrats,” it said.

“It is precisely this type of draconian orders that have chased investors away from Nigeria and it is precisely why Nigerians will chase this recession friendly government away from power on February 16, 2019, so we can begin the job of Getting Nigeria Working Again.”