BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Wednesday declared that despite the threat to opposition legislators’ lives, they shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country.
This is just as he stressed that the barricade of the National Assembly gate by security officials was a show of shame which should not have happened in the instance.
Saraki, who stated these at a World Press conference which held at the Foyer of the National Assembly condemned in very strong terms the action of the personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) which he described as an “an assault” on the nation’s democracy.
The Senate President pointedly said that the unfortunate and unwarranted incident was an act of cowardice by those who sought to execute an illegal impeachment without the backing of the law and therefore chided those desirous of unseating him from the Senate Presidency to come up two-third majority of the Senate rather than embarking on self-help.
Saraki however commended the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo for his quick response to the issue, adding however that the damage control has not addressed how Tuesday’s incident occurred.
In his words; “I thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday. His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy.
“This is an incident concerning which we have it on good authority that it has been in the planning for months, and yet it was allowed to happen. How is it that such an atrocity was not prevented? How is it that the masterminds were not deterred?
“Very serious questions that can only be answered by a full investigation. We call for an investigation, and we demand that all perpetrators are brought to book. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occurs again.
“Many agencies have abused their powers and acted outside the ambit of the law; on occasions where abuses occur, similar actions must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.
Saraki reiterated his earlier warning during which he said there was “a government within a government,” saying that it beats his imagination how such an incident was allowed to happen in the first place.
Saraki, who is also the Chairman of the National Assembly regretted that the Tuesday shutdown of the Federal Legislature prevented the leadership from meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as scheduled, to address the funding concerns.
The Senate President further said; “Although, we are on annual break, we are daily reviewing the situation and are alive to the responsibility to take action as necessary; we will continue to look into the matter.
“In the spirit of that, we also appeal to Mr. President (i.e. Muhammadu Buhari) to sign the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill which has been sent for his assent.”
While fielding questions from journalists, Saraki dismissed insinuations that he had masterminded the siege to enable him gain the people’s sympathy, describing it as an “afterthought”.
He pointedly said that the APC had brought in the security agents to give them cover in their bid to impeach him as the Senate President and his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu to the exclusion of the PDP senators.
According to him; “That was why they prevented the PDP senators from entering the National Assembly complex as their names were not found in the APC senators’ checklist earlier given to the DSS.
He said that unfortunately, the APC senators who plotted the destabilisation could not get to the National Assembly as a result of several inconclusive meetings from failed coup.