The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has explained the siege to home of deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu.
The EFCC and the police had on Tuesday, laid siege to Ekweremadu’s Apo Legislative Quarter as well as both ends of Jim Nwobodo Street where his house is located.
The developments generated uproar in the senate and other quarters in the country.
In a letter signed by the director of operations of the EFCC, Mohammed Abba, with a reference number, ‘CR.3000/EFCC/DOPS/Vol.49/40 dated July 24, 2018 the commission asked the Deputy Senate President to immediately make himself available for questioning.
In the letter titled, ‘Case of Conspiracy, Abuse of Office and Money Laundering’, the anti-graft agency said the request was made pursuant to Section 38(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act, 2004, the EFCC said Ekweremadu was under investigation for alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering.
The EFCC letter reads: “This commission is investigating the above mentioned case in which your name featured prominently. The need to obtain certain clarification from you had become imperative.”
It added that the request was brought pursuant to Section 38 (1) of the EFCC Act.
Meanwhile, Ekweremadu said the siege to his house and that of the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki was a slight to the legislature.
He said that the invitation letter served on him by the EFCC asking him to appear before an investigation panel is only a ploy by the executive to abort the planned defection of some senators to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“In the early hours of Tuesday the 24th of July with a mandate to report to the commission by 10 am only for operatives of the commission to barricade my official residence with the aid of Policemen,” he said.
Ekweremadu has been under investigation by the EFCC for allegedly owning questionable properties abroad.
He was also arraigned for supposedly forging Senate standing rules to pave way for the emergence of the Senate president in June 2015.
Meanwhile, a pro-democracy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to stop using security forces to scuttle the independence of the legislature.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the national media affairs director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, urged Nigerians to defend democracy to prevent the disruption of the national assembly.
The group said it was illegal to deploy armed security forces to restrain principal officers of an arm of government from accessing their offices.
According to them, the act is a sinister plot to instigate internal rebellion to cause a regime change in the Senate.
The statement said: “We view the illegal manipulation of all arms of the security forces, including the anti-graft body by the presidency, against these leaders as a fundamental threat to constitutional democracy.”
It called on the international community to tell Buhari not to use his second term ambition to cripple democracy in the country.
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria cautioned the presidency and the Nigeria Police Force against taking any action that could truncate the nation’s democracy.
“The Christian umbrella body condemns, in strong terms, the way and manner the police were deployed in subjecting the leadership of the National Assembly to needless embarrassment and harassment. The ongoing action of the police is a siege against democracy,” said CAN.
Equally, former vice president, Mr. Atiku Abubakar called for a stop to the alleged persecution of the leadership of the national assembly.
Atiku, said in a statement that the news of the siege to the residences of Saraki and Ekweremadu was both troubling and unsettling.
He added that no democratic nation ought to treat the leadership of its parliament like common criminals in the course of a political disagreement.
“I remind the powers that be that on August 31, 2013, when Senator Bukola Saraki walked out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and began the process of joining the APC, there was a celebration in their camps.
“I also remind them that their electoral victory, which they have so badly mismanaged today, would not have been possible without the senate president,” he said.