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Yet another assault on the National Assembly

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ON April 18, 2018, some hoodlums broke into the hallowed plenum of the Senate, rough-handled everyone on their path and made away with the Mace.

Till today, nothing tangible has been established as to how they managed to breach the heavy security presence at the National Assembly Complex. Who were the perpetrators and their sponsors? What are the law enforcement agencies doing to bring them to book?

Again, following the recent defection of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and other federal legislators from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, pressure built within the APC towards a change of leadership in the National Assembly. The National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, pressed for the re-convening of the National Assembly which is currently on  annual recess.

On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, hooded and heavily-armed men of the Directorate of State Services,DSS, acting on the proverbial “orders from above”, barricaded the gates of the National Assembly Complex, fueling speculations of plots to remove Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. The attentions of the entire nation, local and international media, as well as foreign embassies in Nigeria, were drawn to the unfolding outrageous assault on our democracy.

It came as a massive relief when the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, after disclosing that his office knew nothing about the DSS deployments, announced the sack of the Service’s powerful Director- General, Alhaji Lawal Daura. It was also quite shocking because of Daura’s closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari who was holidaying in London.

Daura’s sack, coming from a government not known to discipline its erring top officials, is a welcome development. But we demand answers to this question: Who were behind these assaults on our legislative arm, including the Police blockade of Saraki and Ekweremadu’s residences and the aborted attempt by eight lawmakers to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom in Benue State, in which the Police also played ignoble roles?

Unless these lawbreakers are fished out and severely punished, the sack of Daura would seem like a mere subterfuge to cover what some see as grand plans by the state to sideline our Constitution and enthrone dictatorship.

The nation cannot afford the continuation of the feud between the Presidency and the National Assembly. The two sides must put aside politics and close ranks to secure funds for the conduct of the 2019 general elections and other outstanding matters. The National Assembly must be given a conducive atmosphere to reconvene and address these issues.

If there is a need for regime change, the NASS members must be allowed to decide in accordance with the law.


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