Short of withdrawing its earlier statement condemning the invasion of the National Assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday backed the action, saying it was aimed at frustrating an alleged plot by Senate President Bukola Saraki to stir violence as a ploy to stop his impeachment.
Unwittingly, the APC seemed to have admitted there was indeed a move to sack the Senate president.
“Why did the Senate president reconvene the National Assembly? Ostensibly, it was a pre-emptive move to frustrate federal lawmakers’ effort to impeach him,” APC’s acting national publicity secretary, Yekini Nabena, said, urging security agencies to probe the matter.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a counter statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, asked: “Is it not schizophrenic for the APC, a day after the invasion, to accuse Saraki of triggering security issues at the National Assembly, when the presidency had already ‘found’ DSS director-general wanting and summarily sacked him for the invasion?”
The presidency, meanwhile, has insisted President Muhammadu Buhari was carried along in the decision to fire Daura.
It made the clarification following insinuations that Osinbajo acted alone.
However, at a world press conference, yesterday, Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara sought an investigation into the matter and bringing of the perpetrators 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,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
“Government must ensure that security agencies remain neutral and act in line with the position of the constitution as well as their enabling laws.
Heads of agencies should be accountable, and those who step out of line must be held responsible for their actions.
Enough with impunity! Enough with the reckless and senseless deployment of militaristic force! Enough!”
Both men described the invasion as “an act of cowardice by those seeking to carry out an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the senate in flagrant disregard of the law; people who seek control at all costs, by whatever means, never minding the injury to democratic norms.”
They reiterated that the legislature, “more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of government, represents the will of the people,” stressing: “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.”
Denouncing the alleged moves to change the leadership of the National Assembly, they insisted: “The day two thirds of our members feel they do not have confidence in our leadership, we will gracefully bow out.”
The leaders commended Osinbajo’s sack of Daura.
Although “the damage control so far does not address the question of how this invasion was allowed to happen in the first place,” they nevertheless admitted: “His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence in the image of our country.
It sent a powerful message that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy.”
Meanwhile, the sacked director general of the DSS, Lawal Musa Daura, could remain under house arrest, a presidency source has disclosed.
The source confirmed that shortly after Daura’s dismissal by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, he was picked up by men of the Nigeria Police and is still being held in one of the guest houses at the presidential villa.
“He will remain there until several investigations over certain issues bordering on him are concluded,” the source added.
Daura’s dismissal came after Tuesday’s siege on the National Assembly complex by DSS operatives who prevented lawmakers from gaining access.