Sagay, others condemn police action at National Assembly

A constitutional lawyer, Itse Sagay, has condemned Thursday’s action by the police at the National Assembly complex.

There was chaos when the police locked the gates of the National Assembly against the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, and some legislators who wanted to gain entrance.

Some of the lawmakers and their aides were also tear gassed by the security operatives in the process before they were able to get it.

Speaking in a telephone interview with NAN in Lagos, Mr. Sagay said the action of the police on the legislators portends a great danger to Nigeria’s democracy.
Itse Sagay
He said: “What transpired today at the National Assembly portends a great danger to Nigeria’s democracy.

“For the police to have attacked the legislature, which is the second arm of government, such an attack must have been sanctioned from above.

Sagay advised security operatives to maintain neutrality at all times, adding that they had no constitutional powers to interfere with legislative processes.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also warned those in power not to throw away Nigeria’s hard won democracy because of inordinate ambitions and selfish interests.

Speaking similarly, Onyekachi Ubani, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, urged Nigerian leaders to focus on the current challenges being faced by the country.

“We are battling with austerity, we are battling with the state of insecurity, we are battling with low levels of infrastructures and Nigerians are really suffering.

“But in the light of all these, our leaders are only fighting themselves and looking for more political powers. It is so shameful,” Mr. Ubani said.

He also flayed the police for attempting to stop the House of Representative members from performing their constitutional duties.

Mr. Ubani said: “What is the business of the security agencies in stopping legislators elected by the people from coming into the house?

“It is not their job to do whatever they did this morning. They allowed some persons in and stopped others which showed that they were clearly partisan.

He noted that while it was shameful to see lawmakers scaling the fence to gain entrance into the complex, those who did so were only out to prove a point.

“They were only trying to prove a point that not even the police can stop them from carrying out the responsibility entrusted to them by the Constitution,” Mr. Ubani said.

Human Rights lawyers, Fred Agbaje and Kayode Ajulo, also condemned action of the Police.

In his reaction, Mr. Agbaje, told NAN in a telephone interview that what the policemen did was “sacrilegious”.
“The attack by the police on the National Assembly was unwarranted and is capable of truncating our democracy,” Mr. Agbaje said.

On the constitutional right of the Senate President, David Mark, to adjourn sitting of the assembly until next week following the police invasion, Mr. Agbaje said that Mark had the right to do so.

“He is the head of the National Assembly and has the right to adjourn if the members were in danger of an attack,” he said.

Mr. Ajulo, told NAN that “police incessant dabbling into the nation’s politics has got to stop”.

He advised the IG to call his men to order especially now that politicking for 2015 was gathering momentum. (NAN)


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  • Dr. J. Balogun

    Editor Premium Times,

    Professor Itse Sagay gives offence to objective readers

    Professor Itse Sagay irritates your objective readers. He should be
    featured less or reported only alongside more informed and objective
    commentators. Professor carries his own partisanship on public matters past the
    bounds of reason.

    Once he takes a biased position he finds it hard to handle
    an objective argument that might plausibly bear him out. For instance, when Professor
    Sagay chose to support the then Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye
    Alamaaeghsia, he threw intellectual caution to the winds.

    Professor Sagay said Governor Diepreye Alamaaeghsia has state immunity
    against Police arrest inside London and, almost ignorantly, Professor Sagay
    relied on a U.S official’s case law as international law of general application
    – which of course, it isn’t.

    • Dr. J. Balogun

      (2)……..Professor Itse Sagay gives offence to objective readers

      Throughout his baseless arguments on Governor Alamaaeghsia’s supposed state immunity
      Professor Sagay never paused to reflect that even under United States federal jurisprudence
      there’s no automatic state immunity accorded to a foreign official outside the presidency,
      unless the Department of State certifies to the U.S federal court that a foreign official
      be accorded or denied official sovereign immunity. That is also the law in Britain.

      But Professor Itse Sagay kept hitting his head against the wall, like a wailer
      opposite the wall of Jericho. Now, he’s here again with his trope of one-sided
      public intervention. Professor Sagay does not see that Police duties in Nigeria
      constitutionally include forestalling potential breakdown of law and order.

      In Aminu Tambuwal’s case, what greater threat to public order can there be
      than Aminu Tambuwal (a non-member of the House of Representatives,
      for defecting to APC without demonstrating that there’s a division in PDP)

      attempting to usurp the powers of the Speaker of House of Representatives –
      despite his having lost membership of House of Representatives,
      by operation of law? But Professor Sagay can’t or perhaps won’t see
      that overarching issue.

      • Lala

        You be really goat o! Ewu! Beast of no senses (BONS).

        • UOU

          The man, Dr J Balogun treated the matter with civility and intelligence, more brilliantly. Where is yours other than abuse, insult and lack of discipline which is cheap and streetly. Sorry, you made no sense at all, to anyone, nothing to learn from your comments.

          • Uzoma

            That’s all they learn at the APC training centre. Nobody is bothered by cheap and uncouth ways any more

          • Fola

            APC is a horrible coalition of Muslims. No crude indecency is beyond APC members.
            <"Fighting is obligatory for you (Muslims), even if you dislike it” – Quran 2:216.

          • sanetalk

            And what about Oladele’s response that punctured the lies peddled by your Balogun?

          • UOU

            You are not making sense, so until someone else makes a point you don’t have nothing to contribute but to abuse people, sorry, we are not in a contest. Unfortunately, you may see yourself on the other side tomorrow, its better you go with your own mind, for posterity sake, don’t agree on things because you see or hear others doing so, make use of your own senses, God gave you one, you don’t win people’s confidence with insults

          • sanetalk

            Funny you are accusing me of latching to someone’s point when all I did was to react to your defense of another person’s point without adding your own value. I hate to do a ‘tu quoque’ and doubt you read my direct response to Balogun. And where is the abuse and insults in my comments? We are the true government supporters because we point the inadequacies out and many times suggest the way forward but I have observed that many of you become combative once the comments are not in line with your position. If you love the President, advise him to shun the jobbers who surround him, they are not giving him quality advice and the nation is the poorer for it. I believe he has the capacity to do better if he is allowed to be his own man

          • UOU

            What sane advice do you have that is better than that of those employed for that purposes except tribal envy and jealousy, plus penchant to abuse which is your style or to support evil propaganda and anarchy which will consume all of you anyway when the time comes(You will abandon the victim you are mischievously misleading then). What is your contributions, show me, where is it and what manner of lousy advice or is it your make shift believe that you are the true government supporters, where is the inadequacies you are pointing out? So why won’t Tambuwal be responsible, reasonable and exemplary in his conduct, why not allow the Court to decide, why did he withdraw the matter from court and still parade himself as speaker? Why is he thinking he is a hero by causing commotions everywhere because Mr Jonathan is a different person or he thinks if Jonathan acts like him, the space will be enough for both of them? Of all these worthless House members let him learn from Abiola experiences, they will abandon him in the middle of the road, he is just wasting the little over crowded/rated goodwill he falsely garnered over the months

          • sanetalk

            Hmmm……typical

      • Oladele

        You are just so ignorant. Prof was right. OBJ signed to waive his immunity before he was arrested in London. That is the law, moreso please educate yourself that at that time Alams carries Nigeria’s diplomatic passport not ordinary passport. I dont know who awarded you doctorate or just hospital doctor or herbalist. The police have no business at the assembly ground for a start, but if they must be there to forestall break down of law and order how does that mean refusing entry into the complex by members voted in by us? If they are there and started noticing events that could lead to break down of law and order then they can move in and in so doing; in a non-partisan manner. I am sure you dont know that IG has no business taking illegal orders from your president?

        When your PDP are observing the constitution in the breach what was going through their dirty minds? How many can you count that defected to PDP without losing their seats? When Musiliu defected from AD to PDP did Tinubu not recommend following the law and let Musiliu come back to face the electorate? your PDP refused. Since then so many people have been going to PDP in droves. If you cannot obey the law we will not obey the law. When you start obeying the law, we will obey the law. Only a court can adjudicate on whether or not there is division in PDP Sokoto state or even PDP in Tambuwal’s constituency, and there was already a rulling to that effect so Tambuwal is free to leave such a party. Haven done just that it is up to his colleagues to determine if he remains their speaker or not. There is no law that says he cannot remain as speaker.

        • Willie

          @ Oladele:

          Professor Sagay was pathetic and wrong on that point of law, without a doubt.

          There’s no ‘international law of general application’ that a state governor of a country has the same foreign immunity from arrest for offences overseas. Common sense should have paused Professor Itse Sagay.

          For there have been hundreds of foreign Mayors, Senators, Governors and Senators charged in United States and European courts for municipal offences before Governor Diepreye Alamaaeghsia showed up in London with his own loot.

      • sanetalk

        We can see through your sophistry, in addition to Oladele’s appropriate response, you need to be reminded that the constitution places the determination of the vacancy of the seat of a defected member of the house firmly in the hands of the judiciary. It is not the business of the police to interpret the law otherwise there would be no need for them to arraign an accused in the court. The PDP should stop making Nigeria a laughing stock

        • Fola

          APC is a horrible coalition of Muslims. No crude indecency is beyond APC members.
          “Fighting is obligatory for you (Muslims), even if you dislike it” – Quran 2:216.

        • BobManuel

          @Sanetalk,

          Oh, no, you are wrong altogether. It is the duty of the Police to interpret the law on daily basis.
          Without interpreting the law the Police can’t effect arrest on clear knowledge of legal infraction.

          • sanetalk

            I will join issues with you sir. The police is referred to as law enforcement, the judiciary has the duty of interpretation while the legislative makes the law. Nigeria is not a banana republic. The police work based on guidelines arising from the interpretation of the law that has been outlined for them and that is why they can only arrest and detain but not convict

  • Ashibogu

    Na democracy we get? I am sick and tired of the well worn statement” do not truncate our democracy”. It is only a nation of idiots that are ruled by fools, apologies to Tunde BAKARE. Our politicians are the same, they are all cut outs of the same cloth. They are naturally undemocratic in their thoughts and imaginations. Anyway, God will soon come to our rescue and recompense tribulation to all those that have been troubling us. The only thing that separates us from that day is time.

  • Imiruaye

    Kai, yeye dey smell. Is this hoodlum jumping the fence our legislator?
    So, this is the quality of the people elected to make laws for Nigeria?
    Hoodlums and thugs – like Femi Gbajabiamila – are misfits in legislature.
    The sooner Nigerians wake up to rue and reverse this sad fact the better.

  • dave

    This IG is acting the script of the presidency and more is about to come during the 2015 elections.The present IG should know that power is fleeting.Politicians will use you and you will answer for the atrocities alone.

  • karl marx

    Sagay, you are suppose to condemn those that asked the police or send the police to commit the act, and not the to condemn the actions of the police. I want to believe the police were given orders and it doesn’t matter whether they over reacted. And the orders must have emanated from the presidency,so if you condemn the president’s orders, you will have back ups from fellow Nigerians. It is an insult to our national image on the face of the entire world but what can we do. That is a price we must all pay as Nigerians because we have voted in incompetent nincompoops.

  • Otile

    The jerk in the picture was probably scaling the wall to make sure that no discussion of oil spill was in the agenda, but to make sure that one Fulani is imposed on us as the president, another as the speaker.