President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has enjoined the Federal Government to desist from the reckless and reckless deployment of military force.

Saraki stated this on Wednesday while addressing a World News Conference in Abuja.

He lamented that the DSS siege on the National Assembly on Tuesday does not portray the image of the country in a positive light and it was the same thing that happened in Benue few months ago, when eight lawmakers in conjunction with security agencies connived to impeach the governor.

Saraki pointed out that the siege on the National Assembly was “an act of cowardice” perpetrated by those who intended to change the leadership of the senate without considering “democratic norms”.

He noted that a lot is expected of the political class but progress has been retarded because the country wallows in impunity and “illegal show of force”.

The senate president remarked that there is a government within the APC-led government which negates the interest of what the people voted for.

Saraki applauded Nigerians for their goodwill stressing that an attack on the legislature is an attack on Nigerians who voted for them.

He said: “Happily, by the actions that Nigerians took yesterday, they demonstrated our strong resolve as a nation not to give ground to oppression. The legislature, more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of government, represents the will of the people. We are elected by the people, and an assault on the legislature is an assault on the people of Nigeria. The forcible shutdown of the legislature was an unconscionable assault on a national institution, and thanks to all your efforts, the aggressors have been put to shame.

“The resistance mounted by staff of the National Assembly, our colleagues in both chambers and Civil Society Organisations who refused to leave the entrance of this Complex until the siege was broken, strengthens our faith in the people of this country. The rain fell, the sun rose, but Nigerians stood their ground in defence of democracy. With the strength of will demonstrated by everyone against unwarranted and unconstitutional militaristic might, the siege could not stand.

“By this, we have shown that Nigerians can resist government within government in whatever guise, and this is humbling for us. Those who sought to defend the attack on the National Assembly under our leadership for their selfish ends have further affirmed our belief in this country. They attempted to execute an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate without the backing of the law, but they faltered. We are confident that, together, we shall always defeat acts of unconstitutionality. The rule of law shall always prevail.

“We applaud all who kicked against the atrocity and who stood firm until sanity prevailed. We are proud of how everyone conducted themselves in what was no doubt a tense standoff. The principled stance and defiant reactions to the ugly incident, proved crucial to the failure of the plot. This is what we have been saying about the power of the people. The role of the people in defending democracy is paramount.”

Saraki also thanked the international community for their support and he praised Hon. Boma Goodhead for her bravery calling other Nigerian women to take their place in leadership to move the country forward.

The senate president also appreciated the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for the manner he handled the crisis noting that his actions injected confidence back in the country.

He said: “We thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday. His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence and the image of our country. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy. The path of leadership is not by party, and we must commend it wherever it is found. Mr. Acting President did the right thing. However, the senate president stated that apart from sacking the DSS boss, Lawal Daura, lot still needs to be done, as such; he called for a full investigation to bring all the perpetrators to book.

Saraki said: “This is an incident concerning which we have it on good authority that it has been in the planning for months. How is it that such an atrocity was not prevented? How is it that the masterminds were not deterred? Very serious questions remain that can only be answered by a full investigation. We call for an investigation, and we demand that all perpetrators are brought to book. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occurs again. Many agencies have abused their powers and acted outside the ambit of the law on occasion. Where abuses occur, similar actions must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.”

He regretted that the change which the APC-led government promised has been shotlived as no one believed that the instruments of the state will be used to fight and oppress Nigerians and their lawmakers and he also reiterated that the legislators remain committed to working within the framework of the rule of law and he enjoined President Buhari to sign 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill which has been sent to him.

Saraki added that the leadership of the Senate or the House of Representatives belongs to the class of desperate politicians who will do anything to remain in power and he intends to leave the day two thirds of the leadership of the members no longer have confidence in his leadership.

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