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Judiciary should probe the NASS siege

SHORTLY after the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, fired the former Director-General of the Directorate of State Services, DSS, Alhaji Lawal Musa Daura, over the siege to the National Assembly Complex on August 7, 2018, the Nigeria Police issued a statement denying foreknowledge of it.

Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, after a quick investigation presented an Interim Report to Osinbajo on Friday August 10, 2018. In a nutshell, the report alleged that Daura was working for some politicians for selfish aggrandisement, though it failed to name names.

Though the IGP said investigations are continuing, we are not satisfied as police investigations in Nigeria tend to drag on indefinitely. The nation cannot afford to wait as it may never come. A Police interim report that did not name those behind a brazen assault on the hallowed arena of our democracy is a non-starter.

The unusual speed with which it was done and the conclusions reached only when Daura had fallen from grace smacked of hurriedly sweeping this outrage under the carpet. Coming on the heels of the unsolved daylight abduction of the Mace in the Senate, and Police sieges to the residences of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, we are not reassured that the Police is best placed to get to the bottom of these events which sullied Nigeria’s democratic image.

Though the July 24, 2018 blockade of the residences of the Senate presiding officials was reported on live television, the Police authorities still denied knowledge of the perpetrators. They also promised to investigate it but nothing has come of it yet. The Police has continued to act as if it is a willing tool in the hands of some privileged political actors at every twist and turn.

Besides, it is always ideal that whenever there is a rift or power struggle between the Executive and the Legislature, then the Judiciary is best placed to come in and show the way forward.

It is for this reason that we call for a judicial panel of inquiry to unmask those behind the daylight hijacking of the Senate Mace, blockage of the residences of the Senate presiding officers as well as the DSS siege to the National Assembly. They must be identified and punished in a manner to prevent future occurrences.

As long as we continue to shield these enemies of our democracy they will continue with their acts of impunity until they take our democracy to the abyss of civilian dictatorship and the total loss of our civil rights and freedoms.

 


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