*Ohanaeze, Saraki demand full investigation into NASS invasion
*Senate President holds secret talk with IBB
By Ignatius Okorocha and Jude Opara
Even as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bicker over Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by the operatives of Department of State Services (DSS), President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has challenged aggrieved Senators of the APC extraction to mobilise the constitutionally-required two-third members and impeach him.
Saraki while addressing the world press yesterday in Abuja, if the APC-led Federal Government is comfortable with his occupying his present portfolio and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, they should follow due process and impeach them rather than plunging the country into a ‘banana republic’.
Insisting that what happened on Tuesday tantamount to a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers and a ‘civilian coup d’etat’, has insisted that the Federal Government must conduct full investigations and fish out the mastermind of the events that led to the siege on the nation’s apex parliament.
He expressed deep concern over the illegal shut-down of legislative businesses at the National Assembly by the DSS, stressing that the action portrayed Nigeria negatively before the international community.
He also added that it was not enough to have sacked Lawal Daura, former Director-General of the DSS, adding that except the detailed plot and the mastermind are exposed, the country would likely face similar or worse abuse on the nation’s democracy.
“Concerning this incident, we have it on good authority that it has been in the pipe line 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? We call for an investigation, and we demand that all perpetrators be brought to book.
“The siege was an act of cowardice by those seeking to carry out illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate in flagrant disregard of the law. People who seek control at all costs, by whatever means, never minding the injury to democratic norms.
“I have to say that this is not about me – Abubakar Bukola Saraki as an individual. It is not about Ike Ekweremadu, nor is it about Yakubu Dogara. I am speaking for my colleagues when I say that this is about the soul of Nigeria,” he said.
He vowed that the leadership of the Senate under his watch would not fold hands and allow the ugly events of Tuesday reoccur, adding that it was a big dent on Nigeria’s democracy.
Saraki added: “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 several occasion. Where abuses occur, appropriate action must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.
“I must say that when we fought for Change, we could not have envisaged a scenario such as unfolded yesterday – an atmosphere where people cannot tolerate dissent, or mere differences of opinion as to the future of our dear country.
“This is not the Change we fought for. We did not fight for instruments of state to be used to oppress Nigerians and their lawmakers. I know that I did not fight just so the legislature could be undermined and subjected to this onslaught.
“There are many lessons to be drawn from the ugly incident we all witnessed yesterday. 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 of impunity. Enough of reckless and senseless deployment of militaristic force,” he stressed.
The Senate President however commended the intervention of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and Daura’s sack, but insisted that the presidency must not allow such ugly incident to occur again.
“The decisive action of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, went a long way towards restoring confidence. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy,” he said.
In assuring that the Senate would take a prompt action on the presidential request for approval of the fund for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) activities, he however appealed to President Buhari to sign into law, the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill which had been sent for his assent.
He congratulated Nigerias for rising up in condemnation of the invasion, adding that it showed that Nigerians have no room to stomach irresponsibility.
He further thanked the international community – particularly the European Union for their concern and intervention.
The Senate President spoke in the company of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara as well as several senators and House of Representative members.
*Ohanaeze demands thorough investigation
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has decried the siege, describing it as equivalent of a coup.
The President-General of the body, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was correct in describing the siege as a breach of national security, and demanded that all the characters who participated either directly or indirectly should be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Nwodo charged the Acting President to go beyond sacking the Director-General of DSS and institute a high powered investigation to fish out all the culprits and punish them adequately.
In a statement, the Ohanaeze boss maintained that it was not possible for the DSS alone to carry out the siege without the involvement of the Police, and put paid to the denial of Idris Kpotun on being party to the act.
He insisted that the embarrassment to the nation was enormous and should not be treated with levity.
“As a constitutionally recognized arm of Government with its own statutory responsibilities, if there is a disagreement within them, they should be allowed to resolve it themselves unless there is violence before the security can be involved,” he said.
* Senate President holds secret talk with IBB
Shortly after addressing the media, Saraki, depated for Minna, Niger State capital where he held a private meeting with the former military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB).
The meeting which took place at the Hilltop Mansion of the former military ruler, was not made public and the outcome were kept away from journalists.
Saraki landed at the Minna International Airport at about 4.10 p.m. and drove straight to IBB’s home.
After the meeting, Saraki only said: “We are here today about the democracy of this country, and that is what is important to me and to all of us that are here.
“I think when the time is right I will talk on your issue but today, we are talking about democracy in Nigeria, to defend the rule of law”.