OrderPaperToday– The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara have condemned today’s siege on the National Assembly by armed men of the State Security Services, describing it as a “coup against democracy.”
In a joint statement, the two presiding officers said the original plan may have been to mastermind an illegal change of the Senate leadership save for the outcry of the public and international community.
“Obviously, the public outcry from Nigerians and members of the international community against this illegality, this desecration of the sanctity of the legislature and this flagrant abuse of powers forced the government to relax the directives given to the security men as they later allowed the legislators to walk from the main gate into the foyer. Still the lawmakers were not allowed to drive in, in their vehicles and were denied access into the main building housing their offices.
“It is not clear what the plan of the government is but information reaching us indicated that some Senators who are pro-executive arm are being camped somewhere here in Abuja and they are being compelled to sign an impeachment notice that would later be brought to the Assembly complex. The Senate Chamber will now be forced open to enable an illegal change of leadership take place in the Senate,” Saraki and Dogara said.
Speaking further, Saraki and Dogara insisted that the National Assembly stands adjourned and due process must be followed in reconvening the parliament or changing its leadership.
The statement adds: “Therefore, we call on members of the international community to view this development as a coup against democracy. This is a throw-back to the inglorious days of military rule where dissent is not tolerated and freedom of association and other fundamental human rights are willfully and carelessly violated.”
The statement concluded with the two leaders of the National Assembly thanking their colleagues in both chambers, the press, the international community and citizens, while confirming that the leadership meeting slated for today has now been postponed indefinitely. Saraki and Dogara stressed that it had become pertinent to suspend the meeting as they could not guarantee the safety of the 20 members from both chambers expected at the meeting.