Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday addressed a world press conference, following Wednesday takeover of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
With other principal officers and members of the National Assembly in attendance, Saraki condemned the DSS siege, saying it’s “an assault on democracy.”
He said, “It is a matter of record that yesterday, lawmakers and staff of the National Assembly were prevented from entering the National Assembly Complex by heavily armed security agents of the Department of State Services (DSS). All entries to the Complex were blocked.
“The National Assembly, the seat of democracy in Nigeria, was under lockdown. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives were prevented from gaining access.
“The ensuing standoff was a show of shame that played itself out over several hours in full view of the country.
“In no circumstances should this have happened. And we as a nation reaped the bitter fruits instantaneously, as evident in media images relayed around the world, images that shame us as a democratic nation.
“The siege was also 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.”
He commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for rising up to the occasion.
“People who seek control at all costs, by whatever means, never minding the injury to democratic norms. I have to say that this is not about me – Abubakar Bukola Saraki — as an individual. It is not about Ike Ekweremadu, nor is it about Yakubu Dogara.
“I am speaking for my colleagues when I say that this is about the soul of Nigeria, what we represent as a country, and our standing in the comity of nations. This is a country where so much is expected of us.
“So many rungs of the ladder that we are supposed to have ascended as a nation. Instead we are wallowing in impunity and illegal show of force, all of which retard our progress. This is most disheartening. I don’t get any joy in saying ‘I said so.’ I don’t.”
“However, some of you may recall that about two years ago, I stated that there was a government within this government, to a purpose that was not in the interest of what the people voted for.
“I said it then, and now we are beginning to see the manifestations of that government within a government.
“It beats one’s imagination how the head of an agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday.”
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