By Dapo Akinrefon & Dennis Agbo
LAGOS — LEADERS and Elders Forum comprising Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and the Middle Belt Forum, yesterday, demanded a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court with proven integrity to investigate the recent invasion of the National Assembly by officials of the Department of State Services, DSS.
They also rejected any attempt to make the Inspector General of Police investigate the invasion.
This was as chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Enugu State, Dr. Ben Nwoye, revealed that the sacked Director General of the DSS, Mr. Lawan Daura, was a pun in the hands of some politicians used to harass, intimidate and frighten perceived opponents.
In a statement entitled: ‘NASS invasion: Nigerian Leaders and Elders Demand Judiciary Probe’, the leaders and elders said the invasion “exposed Nigeria to the whole world as a crude entity where political misfits ride roughshod over decency and all moral pillars have collapsed.”
The statement was signed by Yinka Odumakin (Afenifere), Dr Junaid Mohammed (Northern Elders Forum), Prof Chigozie Ogbu (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Senator Bassey Henshaw (PANDEF) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt Forum).
The statement reads: “The gang invasion of the legislative arm of Nigerian government, the arm of government that constitutes the essence of democratic rule, exposed Nigeria to the whole world as a crude entity where political misfits ride roughshod over decency and all moral pillars have collapsed.
“We must appreciate the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who showed indignation at the barbaric act, by firing the former Director General of the DSS, Mr Lawal Daura.
“Lawal Daura’s running of the secret police in the last three years has made the atrocities of the dreaded NSO of the military years to look like child’s play. However, we consider the dismissal of Daura as only a token in the circumstance.
“High treason was committed, and therefore the matter cannot and should not end with merely firing a public official. We demand that the planners and perpetrators of the invasion and sealing of the National Assembly Premises be investigated, tried and punished.
Rejects IGP probe
“We also reject any attempt to make the Inspector General of Police to investigate the crime. We have perused the wishy-washy interim report submitted to the Acting President by the IGP and the only thing we saw in it was the puerile deduction that there were political figures who colluded with Daura to carry out the crime.”
“We cannot accept any probe by the IGP as he himself should long have been fired if this were a government that places any value on the rule of law.
“There was no evidence that his men in the National Assembly lifted a finger during the invasion of NASS and indeed there were reports of police reinforcement for the illegal operation. These are matters that must be investigated.”
Demands judicial probe
On the need for the Federal Government to set up a judicial panel of inquiry, the forum said: “Given the enormity of this crime, we demand a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court with proven integrity to investigate this coup. Nigerians need to know the power “from above” which undermined the Acting President by illegally authorizing the desecration of our country’s Parliament.
“We refuse to accept that Daura woke up on the wrong side of his bed and, on his own, went and shut down the Nigerian NASS. He must have worked with co-conspirators, and these need to be unveiled by the Judicial Inquiry.
‘’To sack Daura as fall guy and do no more is merely papering over the cracks. All his co-conspirators have to be identified and made to stand trial with him.
“We, elders of this country, now say that enough is enough and that this country must now draw the line. The invasion and sealing of the National Assembly Complex by men of the DSS has brought to a hideous climax the loss of dignity by Nigeria in the world. Nigeria has been treated with utmost contempt.
Daura harassed, intimidated us—APC Chair
Meanwhile, the APC chairman in Enugu State disclosed, yesterday, that Daura was used by some politicians in Enugu State to settle some political scores which widened the gulf among party members in the state.
Nwoye made the disclosure at Egede in Udi local government area of Enugu State when an aspirant into the Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chief Pascal Agubuzo, declared his ambition to contest for the position under APC.
Nwoye said: “Daura was used to destabilise APC in Enugu State but thank God it is all over and he is now in detention. President Muhammadu Buhari does not tolerate corruption from any body, no matter your relationship with him; whether you are his brother or not.”