A member of the Senate, Sen. Isa Misau, says siege at the National Assembly on Tuesday by Department of State Services (DSS) operatives was a “bad example to other African democracies’’.
Misau, who represents Bauchi Central Senatorial District, said that barricading the gate of the assembly complex and denying some legislators access into their offices was a gross illegality and affront on democracy.
As early as 7 a.m., security operatives blocked the entrance of the complex, barring workers, journalists and some legislators from going in.
The DSS personnel, who were heavily armed and masked, blocked the entrance to the assembly with four Ranger Ford vehicles without number plates.
The evelopment followed calls from the Presidency to lawmakers to reconvene from their recess to approve funds for 2019 general elections.
The assembly commenced its annual recess on July 24 and is billed to resume on Sept. 25 in line with its calendar.
Misau is one of the senators who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People Democratic Party (PDP).
He told newsmen while stranded at the entrance of the assembly complex that legislators were representatives of the people and were also elected to protect the principles of democracy.
According to him, it is unimaginable for a government that promised change, integrity and good governance to descend so low, barricading the entrance to the parliament, the symbol of democracy.
Condemning it, Misau said that such development had never been recorded in Nigeria’s history, not even during the military regimes.
“It has never been heard that security agents will prevent some lawmakers from going into their offices and allow a few to go in without explanation.
“Nigerians are watching and the world is watching. This is an embarrassment to the nation and it is bad for it to be coming from Nigeria.’’
He wondered why some legislators were joining the presidency in the call for the assembly to reconvene, saying they were part of the votes and proceedings when the assembly announced the recess “and they did object to it’’.
“Instead of the DSS to concentrate on gathering intelligence to address the killings in the country, they are concentrating on politicians, politics and intimidating poor civilians.
“From Abuja to Kaduna, Abuja to Jos, you cannot go by road; you have to go with prayers and extra security.
“In Sokoto, Zamfara, Benue, killings are going on every day; we are pleading with this government not to descend so low to commit such atrocities,” he said.
The lawmaker lamented that Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a professor of law and a pastor, “would let this to happen under his watch’’.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call security agencies to order and urged Nigerians to be very observant.
Misau said that democracy in other African countries was growing very fast and that Nigeria must not be left behind.
He said that there was rumour of a plot to impeach the leadership of the Senate with only 30 members.
He pointed out that two-third majority of the senate membership was what was required by law for the impeachment of President of the Senate, and described the plot as “illegality” which would not stand.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolorin, who was also denied access into the assembly by the security personnel, urged members of staff to remain calm.
He said that even if he was allowed to go in, he would not do so while his staff were barred from going in to work.