NASS INVASION: Saraki, Ekweremadu claim Nigerian govt hatching another plot

Senate President Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu have raised the alarm that the Federal Government hatching another plot against them.

Today, we held a valedictory session for our late friend and colleague, Senator Mustapha Bukar, who passed away last week. Personally, I was lucky to have met Senator Bukar a long time ago, when I was a banker, and he was still in the Ministry of Water Resources. I remember that even back then, he impressed me with his intellectual acumen. A few messages that resonated in the eulogies delivered by my Distinguished Colleagues, were that the late Senator Bukar was a ‘gentleman’, a ‘humble man’ and an ‘intelligent technocrat.’ From his humility, no one would ever have known that he was the Senator representing Mr. President in the Senate. He was a man who whenever we interacted, was always about finding solutions to problems — and he was also a man that always worked behind the scenes to do just that. Whenever he spoke on the floor of the Senate, you could always see that Senator Bukar was a highly cerebral man who had a lot of ideas. This is why, today, we all mourn his passing. I pray that the Almighty grants him a place amongst the righteous ones, and I also pray that his family is granted the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. Amin.

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They alleged that the government has commenced the execution of a plot to implicate them and their colleagues in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the last Tuesday Invasion of the premises of the National Assembly by men of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The presiding officers added that they have also uncovered a sinister plot in which the government plans to use the anti-graft and security agencies to incarcerate them and some members of their families from next week, all in a bid to break their will and effect their removal.

In a statement jointly signed by their media aides, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Uche Anichukwu, the two legislative leaders stated that after receiving the interim report submitted by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Idris Ibrahim, the Presidency In Friday constituted a closet panel to review the report and submit a final recommendation.

The mandate of this closet panel, the two legislators stated, is to turn facts on the head and blame the invasion of the National Assembly on the two leaders of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, who will then be presented as having worked in tandem with the sacked Director General of the DSS, Mallam Lawal Daura to stage the parliamentary security breach.

 

“We have been reliably informed that instead of the Presidency to set up a public inquiry or judicial commission to probe last Tuesday’s early morning Invasion of the National Assembly as being demanded by the general public, they have commenced a process of manipulation and fabrication.

“The Presidency has set up a closet panel, which would work to a predetermined conclusion in which they will now claim that the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President worked in collusion with ex-DG of DSS, Lawal Daura to stage the invasion.

“They want to shield the fact that the previous night before the invasion and up till the early hours of Tuesday, there was a meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators and that the plan was for them to be moved in a coaster bus into the National Assembly complex later that morning for them to purportedly remove us and select a new Senate President and Deputy Senate President.

Today, we debated several security-related issues at the Nigerian Senate. Senator Kabiru Marafa from Zamfara, raised a Point of Order on the issue of kidnappings in his state. I reassured him that at the upcoming National Security Summit, we will ensure that this issue is discussed. Additionally, I directed the Senate Committee on Police Affairs to ensure that Senate Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso, receives adequate protection to return to his state, as all representatives of the people must be able to visit their constituents. Finally, many of you will recall that 2-weeks ago, we gave the Inspector General of Police a deadline to apprehend the killers responsible for the New Year killings in Benue. Today, I directed the Senate Committee on Police and Intelligence to summon the Inspector General of Police, to explain what actions have been taken since our ultimatum. We must make it very clear to the security agencies that parliamentary ultimatums cannot be taken lightly. If by Tuesday we are not happy with the report that the Senate Committee on Police Affairs is given, we will summon the Inspector General to the full plenary to give us an explanation. We are not going to stop until people are made accountable. All issues on security must be taken seriously.

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“Their plot only failed because the media, particularly social media, Nigerians and international community responded very swiftly as some legislators who came into the complex were refused entry by gun-wielding, hooded security operatives.

“Now, they want to turn the facts on its head and blame us for their botched plot against democracy. We are hereby alerting all Nigerians and members of the international community that the present Nigerian government will stop at nothing to destroy, suppress and incapacitate the opposition. This is their new tactic and plot as we approach the period of the 2019 polls.

Today, we passed a Motion at the Senate on the need to investigate, regularize and amend arbitrary bank charges and illegal deductions by commercial banks. We resolved to urge the Federal Government to: 1. Protect customers rights; 2. Eradicate the short payment of interest rates; and 3. End the culture of excess and arbitrary bank charges. We have also directed our Committee on Banking and Finance to conduct a public hearing on the issue of exorbitant bank charges. This Public Hearing will be attended by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), his officials and other stakeholders like forensic auditors and managing directors of commercial banks in order to harmonize our laws to end the practice of vague, unjust and arbitrary bank charges.

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“We hereby reiterate our earlier position that the coup against democracy as represented by last week’s invasion must be probed through an independent judicial commission of inquiry which will produce a comprehensive report. We reject any manipulated and fabricated investigation,” Saraki and Ekweremadu stated.

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