By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— DISTURBED by the invasion of the National Assembly complex by men of Department of State Services, DSS, penultimate Tuesday, senators have concluded arrangements to sponsor a motion demanding judicial probe.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isa Hamma Misau (PDP, Bauchi Central) and Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara South), said, yesterday, that they would sponsor the motion when the Senate resumes plenary in September.
The senators said they would in the motion insist that the Federal Government should urgently set up a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the recent invasion of the National Assembly complex by masked operatives of the DSS.
In a joint statement in Abuja, Misau and Ibrahim said an open inquiry would enable Nigerians know what led to the siege and those behind the plot to illegally take over the National Assembly.
The senators said: “Is it not curious that the Federal Government has not deemed it necessary to constitute a judicial panel to conduct an impartial and public inquiry into the recent siege on the National Assembly which amounted to a coup against democracy in the country?
“The Federal Government cannot afford to sweep this treasonable act under the carpet nor commit it to a secret in-house committee that may fail to do justice to the matter by treating the heist like business as usual.
‘’Sacking the former Director-General of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura, does not end this. That is just a knee-jack, spontaneous reaction. We now need to understand how to cut off the cancer.
“The National Assembly must insist on getting to the root of the case. We must understand the causes of the invasion, unravel the brains behind the anti-democratic action in order to bring the perpetrators to book and prevent future recurrence.
‘’The inquiry must not be subjected to executive manipulation and cover up. We must ensure transparency and that is why an open judicial inquiry is what is needed now. A judicial commission of inquiry, holding its investigation in an open environment will help.
“This we believe would serve as a deterrent to any person or group of persons that may want to contemplate such condemnable action in future.’’
While warning that security forces should not be used to derail the nation’s democracy, Misau and Rafiu called on Nigerians and the international community to remain alert in order to frustrate further attempts to truncate the nation’s democracy through illegal deployment of security forces to intimidate, harass and arrest political opponents.
They added: “The recent siege on the National Assembly must not happen again and the only way to prevent a future recurrence is to ensure that the perpetrators and their evil collaborators are unmasked and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“Anything less would only be condoning illegality and this will be unacceptable to Nigerians and our International development partners – who look up to Nigeria as a leading democratic nation in Africa.
“Any attempt to sweep this siege under the carpet by not setting up a judicial panel to determine the role and level of involvement of those who masterminded the shameful act will be resisted by the National Assembly, and by extension, Nigerians.”