Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara yesterday described Tuesday’s siege to the National Assembly as an act of cowardice
They insisted there was a plot to impeach Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, in a joint statement read by Saraki at a news conference in Abuja. Department of State Services (DSS) operatives on Tuesday barricaded the National Assembly gate.
The Senate President noted that the siege was part of the manifestation of “a government within this government.”
He said that it was curious how the head of a security agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature that was witnessed on Tuesday.
He said that all entries to the Complex were blocked as early as 6.30 am.
The Senate President described the ensuing stand-off as “a show of shame that played itself out over several hours in full view of the country”.
He noted that in no circumstances should the siege have taken place.
“It beats one’s imagination how the head of a security agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday,” Saraki said, adding:
“Only recently we saw in Benue how eight members of the 30 members of State House of Assembly with the collaboration of security forces, DSS and police tried to impeach the governor.
“Despite the threat to our lives, we shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country.
“The legislature, more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of government, represents the will of the people.
“We are elected by the people, and an assault on the legislature is an assault on the people of Nigeria.
“The forcible shutdown of the legislature was an unconscionable assault on a national institution, and thanks to all your efforts, the aggressors have been put to shame.
“They attempted to execute an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate without the backing of the law, but they faltered. We are confident that, together, we shall always defeat acts of unconstitutionality. The rule of law shall always prevail.”
Saraki singled out for special mention, Hon. Boma Goodhead, a member of the House of Representatives, who challenged the DSS operatives.
He thanked the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, “for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday (Tuesday).”
Prof. Osinbajo’s “decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence and the image of our country.”
“It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy.
“The path of leadership is not by party, and we must commend it wherever it is found.
“Mr. Acting President did the right thing. However, the damage control so far does not address the question of how this invasion was allowed to happen in the first place,” Saraki said.
“For one, government must ensure that security agencies remain neutral and act in line with the position of the constitution as well as their enabling laws.
“Heads of agencies should be accountable, and those who step out of line must be held responsible for their actions. Enough with impunity. Enough with the reckless and senseless deployment of militaristic force. Enough.
Saraki said: “Although we are on annual break, we are daily reviewing the situation and are alive to the responsibility to take action as necessary.
“In the spirit of that, we also appeal to Mr. President to sign the new 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill in line with his recommendations, which has been sent for his assent.”
Senate President defies APC’s quit notice
The All Progressives Congress (APC) insisted yesterday that Senate President Bukola Saraki must resign following his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, speaking at the rally to receive Senator Godswill Akpabio into the party in Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, urged Saraki to emulate Akpabio, who resigned as Senate Minority Leader when he decided to defect to the APC.
APC National leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, speaking in Ikot-Ekpene also urged Saraki to follow Akpabio’s example by resigning.
The APC, in a statement by its Acting National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena,said: “We reiterate our call for the Senate President to resign from the position immediately as he no longer has the moral and legitimate ground to occupy that position as a member of the minority PDP. Going by the popular axiom, ‘the majority will have their way, but the minority will have their say”.
Oshiomhole said: “Senator Akpabio has demonstrated what the people of South South stand for by quitting the seat of Senate Minority Leader.
“It is the turn of Saraki to vacate his seat as President of the senate.’’
But the senate president said he would not resign.
When asked at a news conference he addressed yesterday, he said: “I was not given the seat of the Senate President. I was elected by members. Secondly, according to our Constitution, it says members of the National Assembly who are elected can elect their leaders. It does not say you have to come from a political party.”