The National Assembly was today blocked by operatives of the Department of State Security DSS thereby preventing entrance into the National Assembly complex.
The development which has attracted widespread National and international condemnation is coming on the heels of a scheduled emergency meeting called by the leadership of the Senate and the House of Assembly. Though the National Assembly has been on recess on July 24 2018 and are scheduled to resume plenary on the 25th of September, the leadership of the National Assembly had scheduled a meeting for Tuesday in order to discuss some National issues, with the forthcoming national election and the independent National Electoral Commission’s budget for the conduct of the election top on the list.
However, daring DSS officers who were seen wearing face masks arrived the National Assembly Complex as they intimidated and prevented legislators and National Assembly workers from entering the Assembly complex thereby scuttling the scheduled meeting as the only ranking officer to gain access to the Assembly was the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives Hon Yusuf Lasun who has since cancelled and rescheduled the meeting.
Hon Yusuf Lasun decried the development saying,’ A meeting cannot be held in this kind of atmosphere. It is unfortunate that this is happening because when the assembly is under siege, Democracy is under siege’.
An Honourable member from Rivers state Hon. Boma Goodhead was seen in a now viral video remonstrating against the development as an affront on the country’s democracy. She confronting and challenging the officials for venturing to barricade the Assembly complex.
Some lawmakers who later gained access to the complex decried the unfolding situation calling it a coup against the legislative arm of government. Among those who made it into the complex were the deputy speakers of the House of Representatives Hon Yusuf Lasun, Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, Hon Boma Goodhead
Some operatives of the DSS at the entrance responded to some questions by newsmen that the development was coming based on ‘directives from Superiors’.
In a swift reaction, the senate president, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, described the development as an embarrassment and an affront on the country’s democracy. In a joint statement released on Tuesday, they described the occurrence as a ‘sad day for democracy in Nigeria’. They noted that the heavy presence of armed security men who unnecessarily militarized the legislative complex and harassed legislators and the workers in the complex could not be justified in a democracy.
“Obviously, the public outcry from Nigerians and members of the international community against this illegality, this desecration of the sanctity of the legislature and the 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 gate into the foyer. Still the lawmakers were not allowed to drive in, in their vehicles and were denied access into the man 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.’
‘It should be noted that the senate formally adjourned on July 24, 2018 and it stands adjourned. To reconvene, there is a process which has to be followed. Also, it should be clear that these senators who are camped somewhere know the procedure for changing the leadership of the senate. Both the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency officials masterminding this illegality know that they do not have the numbers to lawfully carry out this action’.
They also called on “Nigerians and the international community to condemn the illegal invasion of the National Assembly complex and the attempt to asphyxiate the legislature as undemocratic, uncivilized and irresponsible”.
Report by Victor Alagogooko for IbadanCity ANNOUNCER