By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—DEPUTY Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday opened up on the siege to his Abuja residence by men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and security agencies, Tuesday, saying he was seriously afraid of the nation’s democracy.
Senator Ekweremadu described the action of the security personnel as sad, a dangerous development, unfortunate and uncalled for and warned that Nigeria’s democracy was seriously on the decline, just as he said that the whole world expects Nigeria to lead in democracy in Africa, adding that as a country, there was an urgent need to make progress and show the world that Nigerians are indeed leaders in every aspect of life.
Ekweremadu was however full of praise for senators, members of the House of Representatives, the press, civil society organisations and Nigerians for rising in defence of democracy.
Ekweremadu who spoke when Senators paid him a solidarity visit in their numbers and across party lines at his Apo Legislative Quarters residence Tuesday evening, said: “This (Tuesday) morning, some people laid siege to my house. They left at about 12:20pm after spending about six and half hours.
“We anticipated that a number of our colleagues in All Progressives Congress, APC, would defect and join Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, this morning. In anticipation of that, the APC leadership had tried to stop them. When that didn’t happen, the first thing they did was invite President of the Senate to come to the Police this morning. They believe that once the President of the Senate goes to the Police, I would be the one to preside and probably give effect to the letter of defection.
“In anticipation of that, the Police, EFCC, and other security agencies came together, about 200 of them, to stop me from going to the National Assembly. “They said I should come to the EFCC to give explanation over the things I was accused of. I agreed to follow them even though there was no prior invitation but they were not eager to let me answer the invitation.
“The plan was to stop me and the President of the Senate from going to the National Assembly. Unfortunately for them, the President of the Senate was already at the Senate to preside over the plenary .
“This is not good for democracy. We must respect the law, respect institutions because that is the only way we can make progress as a nation. This is an embarrassment to our nation. I hope this will not happen again.”
Worried over Nigeria’s democracy
Ekweremadu expressed worries for the nation’s democracy, saying: “I am very worried. This is a decline in our democracy. I want to call on the media and Nigerians to stand up for Nigeria and ensure we save our democracy. This is a dangerous development. The whole world expects Nigeria to lead in democracy in Africa. We need to make progress and show the world that Nigerians are indeed leaders in every aspect of life.
“This is my official quarters. Invading my official quarters is like an invasion of an aspect of the National Assembly. When you invade the National Assembly, you are invading the temple of democracy. That is exactly what has happened . This is a major assault on democracy. This is not the type of attitude we should be encouraging. The principal things in a democracy are dialogue, discussion, and networking, not threats. We need to have a rethink”.
Ekweremadu said that whoever advised the executive on the siege to his residence and that of the President of Senate was an enemy of both the current administration and the nation’s democracy.