More reactions have continued to trail Tuesday’s siege on the residences of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, by security operatives in Abuja.
The security officers who were seen in multiple vehicles blocked the access routes to the residences of the Senate leaders in the early hours of Tuesday.
The siege was suspected to be linked to the planned defection of many senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress on Tuesday. However, Mr Saraki had earlier been summoned by the police to appear on Tuesday in relation to investigation into murder cases in his Kwara State. Evidence also emerged on Tuesday that Mr Ekweremadu had been summoned by the EFCC to appear on Tuesday.
Despite the siege, Mr Saraki was able to manoeuvre his way to the Senate where he presided over plenary and announced the defection of 15 lawmakers from the ruling party, APC. His deputy could not attend.
In his reaction, a former vice president and presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, said the APC should “avoid biting the fingers that gave the party victory in the last general elections.”
“The news of the sieges on the residences of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, is both troubling and unsettling. 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 and began the process of joining the All Progressives Congress, there was 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. Power is transient and is also a trust that should only be used for the good and advancement of the people one leads and not for the persecution of real and imagined political opponents,” Mr Abubakar said.
He called for “the lifting of the sieges on the persons and homes of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu by security forces.”
“I remind President Muhammadu Buhari of his public words of solidarity to Senator Saraki after his ordeal of malicious prosecution, which thankfully was brought to a halt by the Supreme Court, and I urge him to live up to those words today and always.”
In a reaction to the siege, the Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, described the action of the security operatives as the manifestation of tyranny in a democratic system.
“I condemn in its entirety the siege on the houses of the Principal Officers of the National Assembly by officers and men of the Nigerian Police.
“The National Assembly as an arm of the government must be accorded the due respect that it deserves. This is tyranny,” Mr Dankwambo said in a tweet on Tuesday. His aide had earlier confirmed that the twitter handle is that of his principal.
Also in a similar reaction, a former Kaduna State governor, Balarabe Musa, described the siege as bad for Nigeria’s democracy.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Musa said the situation should not be allowed to degenerate.
“It’s an unfortunate end of the fight to the death between the Presidency and the Legislature. It’s bad for the country’s democracy. This can result to anything,” he said.
Mr Musa said although it is lawful for a suspect to be investigated, even if it’s the Senate president, but the pattern adopted by the security operatives is totally out of place.
“Yes he should be investigated but that was not the way to do it.
“Remember we are talking about the Executive and Legislature. The two of the three fundamental institutions of government.
“Now if the Executive and Legislature are not compatible, how can we have peace and progress under this situation? So actually even though the right thing should be done, there are ways and means of doing it in a better way without creating tension in the country,” he said.
Mr Musa noted that the security operatives could only be acting on instructions of the president and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to warn his offers
“The advice should go to the president. The president should know that he is the chief security officer of the country.
“He is the commander in chief of the armed forces, he is the controller of the resources of the country. So, the last blame lies on the president,” he said.
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