Senators at the upper chamber took turns to condemn the heavy presence of security agencies at the Abuja residences of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
Personnel from different security agencies reportedly laid siege on the homes of the duo in the early hours of today.
The move is said to be a ploy to prevent them from making it to the National Assembly because of a plan by many lawmakers to decamp en masse from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Saraki was summoned to appear before the police at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday as part of investigation into alleged killings in Kwara State. He could not do so.
Mr Ekweremadu had no prior police invitation, but evidence later emerged that he had also been summoned by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, to appear today.
Mr Saraki had, despite the siege, appeared at Senate and presided over plenary, where he also read out a letter from 15 lawmakers who defected from APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Raising a point of order, Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) frowned at the development. He accused the security operatives of depriving Mr Ekweremadu of his freedom.
Coming under Order 43and 53, Mr Utazi narrated how he got a distress call from one of Mr Ekweremadu’s aides stating that his (Mr Ekweremadu’s) entire street has been blocked and no one could go in or out of the compound.
“As we speak, people of Enugu State in Abuja have moved to his house and are there shouting under the rain wondering what is happening to our brother and what offence he could have committed.
“His family members could not go to work today. We want to know what he has done. We had insinuations that today’s sitting is going to be turbulent and will not even hold.
“Some people told me that they heard that some people want to defect and so want to stop him from attending plenary. They also said they don’t want the Senate president to come so that no one will be here to preside over the seating.
“This is uncalled for. It will not help our democracy. Our people are afraid and are asking that he be given his freedom back,” he said.
In his reaction, Sam Anyawu (PDP, Imo East) wondered why the deputy senate president was being wanted by the police and demanded an explanation for the siege.
“Throughout the time I was with him yesterday, I never heard of any notice of him being invited by the police. I wonder why he’s been wanted by the police. The idea of laying siege in his official quarters in Abuja, for no reason, demands for explanation.
“I’m sure by the time some of us will leave here, there will be a siege at our place because it is part of the things we suffer for democracy.
“It is unfair that it is within this period that we have a new administration we believe that will protect Nigerians, that Nigerians are now afraid of going to their homes. We demand to know why the police should lay siege at his residence,” he said.
He urged the security agencies to vacate Mr Ekweremadu’s house and give him official invitation which “he will honour.”
“It is Saraki and Ekweremadu today it could be somebody else tomorrow,” he added.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr Saraki said he was only able to make it to the National Assembly by the intervention of Almighty God.
“The road leading to my place was cordoned off and all cars coming in and out as early as 6:30 were being stopped and you have to come down.
“My convoy was stopped from moving. Given something that one was prepared for, I had my own car too. So the deputy senate president called me and said he could not come here.
“And as you are all aware, vey late yesterday, at about 8 p.m., I received a letter asking me to report to the police on a case of this Offa robbery which had been concluded before now.
“That’s the situation why the DSP could not come here and I was already going somewhere else. If not, this plenary would not have been able to hold today. So I had to come here.
“But as you all rightly said, if one of our colleagues cannot come out for no fault of his, I don’t see how we can continue to sit and ignore the fact that a presiding officer cannot be here. And if it was by the plan, I too, would not be here.
“It was just by the intervention of the Almighty God that I was able to get myself here,” he said.
The Senate, thereafter, demanded that the security agencies vacate the deputy senate president’s house immediately and allow him to enjoy his constitutional right.
The Senate also resolved to adjourn “immediately till after the annual vacation in September (September 25).”