Condemnation trails harassment of Senate leadership
By Chioma Gabriel, Vincent Ujumadu, Dennis Agbo, Chinedu Adonu & Chimaobi Nwaiwu AWKA—NIGERIANS, civil society groups and political organisations in the country have condemned perceived harrassment of the leadership of the Senate by the executive, using the Police and other security agencies. The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, reacted yesterday to the face-off between security operatives and the leadership of the Senate, saying that going by what is happening in the country, there was no difference between the All Progressives Congress, APC-controlled Federal Government and dictatorships that got into office through the ballot box. A statement by the IPOB media and publicity secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful said the humiliating disregard for constitutional protocol by President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and his party, APC, with reference to the ongoing treatment of lawmakers and senior officers of the legislature by the police, military and Department of State Services, DSS, confirmed what IPOB has been saying, which was that in Nigeria, possession of Permanent Voter Card, PVC, was useless. The statement read in part: “It is important we let every politician in Nigeria, who doubts our resolve or feels that IPOB will budge in its determination to boycott every election come 2019, to understand that they are dreaming. “Elections in Nigeria have never benefited the common man since 1963. The age long manipulation of Southerners by the ruling class in every election since 1963 in Nigeria is a strategy that has repeatedly occurred and cannot be reversed, unless we take the bull by the horn and stop the entire voting process in every election, until our demand for a referendum is acceded to. “There is no difference between this Buhari regime and any other brutal anti-democratic dictatorship that got into office through the ballot box. The single feature they all share is that they all got into office via a democratic means, but predictably emasculate every dissenting voice through terror, blackmail and intimidation. “IPOB has been calling for total boycott of elections since early 2015 when our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu saw what most people couldn’t foresee in their lifetime, which is that Nigeria is irredeemably disunited, corrupt and on a slippery slope.” It said further: “This is a golden opportunity for all lovers of freedom and liberty to effect a positive and lasting change. Voting in a bunch of hardened people into power in Nigerian elections has never benefited anybody. “Thankfully, majority of our people have come to the full realisation that only a total and complete boycott of elections in South East and South- South can disorganize Nigeria sufficiently enough to pave the way for a peaceful referendum to be conducted. Nigeria heading towards anarchy —CRRAN In a related development, president of Civil Right Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, Barr. Olu Omotayo condemned the invasion of Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Dr Ike Ekweremadu’s houses by security agencies and warned that such acts would lead Nigeria into anarchy. Omotayo made this known in a statement issued to pressmen in Enugu, yesterday. According to the statement, “the events of today whereby security operatives surrounded the residences of the President of the Senate and that of the Deputy President of the Senate clearly show that the present Federal Government has moved the country from democracy to anarchy. “We cannot be practicing democracy in a federal system of government and the executive will want to annihilate the legislature at all cost, thereby throwing away all the decorum and norms of democratic system. “For purpose of clarity, anarchy is a state of disorder due to absence or non recognition of authority or other controlling systems. “The situation we now find ourselves in this country is “non recognition of authority of other controlling systems by the executive and if the Federal Government did not immediately retrace its steps, it will plunge the country into lawlessness, disorder and disorganisation.” Don’t be intimidated by the presidency, Police,DSS, Igboezue tells Saraki, Ekweremadu The Igboezue International Association Nigeria and the Diaspora, IIAND, yesterday urged the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Chief Ike Ekwermadu not to be intimidated by the presidency, the Police and DSS, by succumbing to pressure not to do the right thing in the national assembly. IIAND also urged Saraki not to succumb to pressure of staying in the All Progressives Congress, APC, following promises of mouth-watering offers by the presidency and the leadership of the party if he has made up his mind not to remain in the party. Reacting to the alleged harrassment of Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu, Monday and yesterday respectively by combined team of Department of State Services, DSS and the Nigerian Police, over some alleged misconducts and criminal activities leveled against them, Igboezue through its President General, Chief Pius Okoye warned that “dictatorship is gradually creeping into the Nigerian politics under President Muhammadu Buhari and therefore, must be checkmated.” Threat to democracy Also yesterday, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP described the rancorous relationship between the legislative arm of government and the executive as a threat to democracy. The CNPP in a statement jointly signed by its national chairman, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and the secretary general, Chief Willy Ezugwu urged “all Nigerian security agencies to stop meddling into the political affairs of the country and allow democratic forces to freely operate like in every other democracy. “The barricade of the residence of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and that of the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu is the culmination of the altercation between the Executive and the Legislative arms of government in the country. “Following truncated impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari at the Senate, the constant intimidation of lawmakers by the agents of the Executive is the culmination of the ongoing distrust between the two arms of government. “No democracy will survive in an atmosphere of unbridled interference by the executive in the affairs of the legislative chambers, using the coercive forces at its disposal to muzzle dissenting voices and distort free flow of democratic forces and freedom to associate. “The constitution of Nigeria, which both the executive and legislative members swore to uphold guarantees freedom of association and right to hold opinion and it will be detrimental to the deepening of our democracy for security agencies to deny any Nigerian these rights. Rather, all security forces are to ensure that these rights are respected,” the CNPP stated. Pro-Ekweremadu protest shelved in Enugu Meantime, a mass protest against the siege on the Abuja residence of the Deputy Senate President, Prof. Ike Ekweremadu by security personnel, was yesterday, averted in Enugu. Supporters of Ekweremadu had gathered in large numbers in his Enugu residence for a mass action that would have taken them round the streets of the coal city but was shelved due to late information dissuading them. Some of Ekweremadu supporters who spoke to Vanguard said they got information that the Deputy Senate President had been allowed passage to National Assembly which made them shelve the protest.