UK, PDP, others condemn DSS invasion of national assembly

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*DSS operatives at the entrance to the national assembly

Invasion, The British High Commission said that Britain would only accept a democratic process that recognises the rights of Nigerians to participate in election process.

The High Commission made the declaration as a reaction to Tuesday’s barricade of the national assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS) operatives.

During the blockade, the hooded DSS personnel who said they were acting “on orders from above” prevented everyone including lawmakers who had reported for work from gaining access into the assembly complex.

The High Commission in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr. Joe Abuku that: “We are aware of media reports of a situation at the national assembly this morning (yesterday). We are closely monitoring the situation and other political developments in Nigeria.

“The United Kingdom supports a process whereby the people of Nigeria can exercise their democratic right to vote and be voted for.

“We favour a free, fair, credible and peaceful process and the independence of institutions, which allow for that.”

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its reaction alleged that the presidency was in the know of the DSS invasion.

In a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP called for investigation by an independent panel of inquiry headed by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria to examine the remote and immediate causes of the invasion.

“The invasion of our highest legislative institution by agents of the Buhari-led executive, a few months after the Senate mace was blazingly carted away by armed hoodlums, is condemnable, reprehensible, unpardonable, and completely unacceptable.

“With this siege, barely a week after presiding officers of the Senate were held hostage at their residences, it has become clear that the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) intend to forcefully overrun and ultimately shutdown the highest lawmaking organ of the Nigerian government and pave the way for the total suspension of constitutional rule in the country.

“The PDP notes in this administration’s quest to foist a fascist regime our country, the APC-led government has taken several steps and actions tending towards the suspension of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), including direct usurpations of the duties and powers of the National Assembly and the judiciary in governance.

“Acting president, Yemi Osinbajo should shed the idea of using the sacked director general of the ‎Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura as ‘the fall guy’ for Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by security forces.

“The party insists that the invasion by the DSS and police was with the absolute knowledge and approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, and the All Progressives Congress (APC). Daura’s sack was an afterthought, diversionary and deceitful.

“The PDP recalls that it issued series of statements at the weekend alerting Nigerians to the plots against the national assembly and democracy ahead of President Buhari’s overseas trip noting that the presidency was silent on all the alarm raised by the Buhari Presidency.

“If anything, they urged the senators and members to remain steadied in their grave plan to ridicule our bastion of democracy, the national assembly.

“The presidency’s sack of Daura was a damage-control stunt and a knee-jerk gimmick which came as a response to the national and international outcry against the armed invasion of our legislature by security agents as directed by the Buhari Presidency.

“The action of security agents that blocked the National Assembly is treasonable and must attract appropriate sanctions under our law. It is not enough to take populist approach of easing Daura out of office.

“Our party demands an immediate investigation by an independent panel of inquiry headed by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria to examine the remote and immediate cause of the invasion.

“Moreover, Section 16 of the Legislative House (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2017, provides that any person, who by any act, obstructs members of the National Assembly from performing their legislative duties, is liable and punishable by imprisonment.

“Furthermore, Nigerians observed that the invasion was not only by the DSS, but also had the involvement of the Police, whose high command has not received any sanction or reprimand by the Presidency for its serial  acts of impunity,” the PDP said.

In his reaction, the Sokoto State governor and former speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, condemned in strong terms Tuesday’s invasion And applauded the immediate removal from office of the director-general of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura whose personnel were deployed for what he described as “flagrant affront on democracy and the elected representatives of the Nigerian people.”

He said he was confounded that anyone could contemplate and execute such an act and called on the international community to rise in condemnation of the action.

Tambuwal who further said the DSS siege “is a very dangerous threat to the survival of democracy in Africa’s most populous country.”

“It is wrong and unconscionable for security operatives of any 21st Century nation to act in ways suggesting democracy and the will of the people could be held to ransom,” he added.

The governor who defected to the PDP recently further described the action as “an attempted coup against the legislature that requires full and unremitting investigation” cautioned that “no one should bring down the hard-earned democratic freedom Nigerians fought hard to achieve.”

Reacting to the development, the governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose said the invasion was a coup against democracy, as well as Nigeria and its people.

He said those with history of truncating democracy in the country should not be allowed to do so now.

Speaking through his special assistant on public communications and new media, Mr. Lere Olayinka, the governor said Nigeria is obviously under the worse government in its history.

Fayose said events of late had proven the unprecedented desperation of the APC government, adding that sacking director general of the DSS, Daura, “was only an attempt to save face, having failed in their coup-de-tat to topple the leadership of the National Assembly.”

The Ekiti State chapter of the PDP also condemned the blockade of the national assembly.

It added that the DSS action at the national assembly was tantamount to desecration of the legislature, which it described as a potent arm of government that lubricates and supports the executive for good governance.

The party also commended Osinbajo’s sacking of Daura, saying his (Daura’s) action since assuming office in 2015 had been dogged with controversies, accusing the ex-security chief of always acting in ways capable of eroding the country’s democratic foundation.

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