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Live: Saraki addresses Press Conference on yesterday’s invasion of the National Assembly

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LIVE UPDATES: The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is now holding a Press Conference to address yesterday’s invasion of the National Assembly by armed security agents.

The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is now holding a Press Conference to address yesterday’s invasion of the National Assembly by armed security agents.

Distinguished Senators, Honorable members of the @HouseNGR and gentlemen of the Press are seated in anticipation of the Press Conference by the Senate President.

“It is a matter of record that yesterday, lawmakers and staff of the National Assembly were prevented from entering the @nassnigeria Complex by heavily armed security agents of the Department of State Services (DSS). All entries to the Complex were blocked.”- SP

“The National Assembly, the seat of democracy in Nigeria, was under lockdown. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives were prevented from gaining access.”- Senate President

“The ensuing standoff was a show of shame that played itself out over several hours in full view of the country. In no circumstances should this have happened. And we as a nation reaped the bitter fruits instantaneously…”-SP

“…as evident in media images relayed around the world, images that shame us as a democratic nation. The siege was also an act of cowardice by those seeking to carry out an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate in flagrant disregard of the law.”- SP

“People who seek control at all costs, by whatever means, never minding the injury to democratic norms. I have to say that this is not about me – Abubakar Bukola Saraki as an individual. It is not about Ike Ekweremadu, nor is it about Yakubu Dogara.” – SP
I am speaking for my colleagues when I say that this is about the soul of Nigeria, what we represent as a country, and our standing in the comity of nations. This is a country where so much is expected of us…”- Senate President,
“…so many rungs of the ladder that we are supposed to have ascended as a nation. Instead we are wallowing in impunity and illegal show of force, all of which retard our progress. This is most disheartening. I don’t get any joy in saying: I said so. I don’t.”- SP
“However, some of you may recall that about two years ago, I stated that there was a government within this government, to a purpose that was not in the interest of what the people voted for. I said it then, and now we are beginning…”-SP

“…to see the manifestations of that government within a government. It beats one’s imagination how the head of an agency could have authorized the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday.”-SP

“Despite the threat to our lives, we shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country. Happily, by the actions that Nigerians took yesterday, they demonstrated our strong resolve as a nation not to give ground to oppression.”-SP
“The legislature, more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of govt. represents the will of the people. We are elected by the people, & an assault on the legislature is an assault on the people of Nigeria.” – SP

“The forcible shutdown of the legislature was an unconscionable assault on a national institution, and thanks to all your efforts, the aggressors have been put to shame. The resistance mounted by staff of the National Assembly…”-SP

“…my colleagues in both chambers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who refused to leave the entrance of this Complex until the siege was broken, strengthens my faith in the people of this country.”-Senate President

“The rain fell, the sun rose, but Nigerians stood their ground in defence of democracy. With the strength of will demonstrated by everyone against unwarranted and unconstitutional militaristic might, the siege could not stand.”-Senate President
“By this, we have shown that Nigerians can resist government within government in whatever guise, and this is humbling for me. Those who sought to attack the National Assembly under my leadership…”-Senate President
“…for their selfish ends have only affirmed my belief in this country. They attempted to execute an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate without the backing of the law, but they faltered.”-Senate President
“I am confident that, together, we shall always defeat acts of unconstitutionality. The rule of law shall always prevail.”- Senate President
“I thank the thousands who monitored the situation on radio, television & social media, voicing their outrage at the siege, thereby sending a clear message to those that hatched the plot that the Nigerian public would not buy this…”-SP
“…act of gangsterism using instruments of state such as the DSS. I also thank the international community-particularly the European Union-& the international press, for their prompt reactions to the invasion of the National Assembly.”-SP
“CSOs and Socio-cultural groups were emphatic in their statements during the crisis, and we very much appreciate their vigilance. Among the many that come up for special mention…”-Senate President
“…I believe that Honourable Boma Goodhead, a member of the House of Representatives, stands out. She looked a masked security operative in the eye and dared him to shoot. She let it be known that Nigerians would not stand for…”-SP

“…the barricade at the National Assembly, that we would not be cowed. It was another pointer to what is possible in this country when women take their place in leadership. I applaud all who kicked against the atrocity & who stood firm until sanity prevailed.”-SP
“I am proud of how everyone conducted themselves in what was no doubt a tense standoff. The principled stance and defiant reactions to the ugly incident, proved crucial to the failure of the plot.”-Senate President
“This is what we have been saying about the power of the people. The role of the people in defending democracy is paramount. I thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted…”-SP,
“…with yesterday. His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy.”-Senate President
“The path of leadership is not by party, & we must commend it wherever it is found. Mr. Acting President did the right thing. However, the damage control so far does not address the question of how this atrocity happened in the first place.”-SP
“This is an incident concerning which we have on good authority, has been in the planning for months, & yet it was allowed to happen. How is it that such an atrocity was not prevented? How is it that the masterminds were not deterred?”-SP
“Very serious questions remain that can only be answered by a full investigation. We call for an investigation,& we demand that all perpetrators are brought to book. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occurs again.”-SP

“Many agencies have abused their powers and acted outside the ambit of the law on occasion. Where abuses occur, similar actions must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.”-Senate President
“I must say that when we fought for Change, we could not have envisaged a scenario such as unfolded yesterday – an atmosphere where people cannot tolerate dissent, or mere differences of opinion as to the future of our dear country.”-SP,
“This is not the Change we fought for. We did not fight for instruments of state to be used to oppress Nigerians & their lawmakers. I know that I, certainly, did not fight just so the legislature could be undermined & subjected to this onslaught.”-Senate President
“There are many lessons to be drawn from the ugly incident we all witnessed yesterday. For one, govt. must ensure that security agencies remain neutral & act in line with the position of the constitution as well as their enabling laws.”-SP
“Heads of Agencies should be accountable, and those who step out of line must be held responsible for their actions. Enough with impunity. Enough with the reckless and senseless deployment of militaristic force. Enough.”-SP

“In this dark cloud, we can see the silver lining,& that silver lining is the commitment of Nigerians to defending their hard-won democracy. I am more than encouraged by the strength, the determination & the resolve of ordinary Nigerians..”-SP
“…to see to it that democracy survives and thrives in this country. I am also strengthened by the determination of the media to report and analyse the truth as they see it. I want to reassure Nigerians that, on our part…”-SP
“…we remain committed to working for a country governed by the rule of law. Our desire is to have a society where there will be equity and justice, not oppression.”- Senate President
“We stand committed to doing our utmost as lawmakers to ensure that the responsibility and functionality of governance are met. Although we are on annual break, we are daily reviewing the situation…”-Senate President

“…and are alive to the responsibility to take action as necessary. Unfortunately, yesterday’s shutdown prevented us from meeting with INEC, as scheduled, to address funding concerns. We will continue to look into the matter.”-SP

“In the spirit of that, we also appeal to Mr. President to sign the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill which has been sent for his assent. I remain confident in the support of my colleagues and their focus on the job at hand…”-SP

“…which is to serve the Nigerian people. My confidence is unshaken. I remain committed to the success of the historic 8th National Assembly, and to the continued progress of our country.”-Senate President


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1 Comment
  1. ElombahNews says

    SEE THE JOINT PRESS STATEMENT OF SARAKI AND DOGARA ON THE INVASION OF DSS ON NASS

    August 7, 2018 3:36 pm

    The Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara have in a joint statement condemned the forceful and illegal siege at the National Assembly by the Operatives of Department for State Services, describing it as another attempt to subevert the nation’s democracy.

    Read full statement below:

    Following the on-going invasion of the National Assembly complex by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) in which legislators and members of staff, including the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Omolori, who is the administrative head of the Federal legislature, were harassed and prevented from accessing their offices, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara have condemned the action of the security agents and described it as another attempt to subevert the nation’s democracy.

    In a statement jointly signed by the two presiding officers of both Chambers of the National Assembly, Saraki and Dogara stated that the heavy presence of armed security men who unnecessarily militarized the legislative complex and harassed legislators and the workers in the complex could not be justified in a democracy.

    The Senate President and Speaker further noted that today was a sad day for democracy as very early in the morning, they got reports backed by video and pictures, from members of staff of the National Assembly, their colleagues from both chambers and other individuals, about the heavy presence of the security personnel who insisted that nobody would enter the complex except certain Senators who were to be conveyed into the complex in a Coaster bus.

    “By 6.30 am, the reports started coming in and by 7am, there were pictures and video online showing armed security men preventing Senators and Honourable members from coming into the Complex. Some of our colleagues then mobilized other members in both chambers from their respective abode so that they could pressurize the Security men from allowing them to gain entry.

    “Obviously, the public outcry from Nigerians and members of the international community against this illegality, this desecration of the sanctity of the legislature and this flagrant abuse of powers forced the government to relax the directives given to the security men as they later allowed the legislators to walk from the main gate into the foyer. Still the lawmakers were not allowed to drive in, in their vehicles and were denied access into the main building housing their offices.

    “It is not clear what the plan of the government is but information reaching us indicated that some Senators who are pro-executive arm are being camped somewhere here in Abuja and they are being compelled to sign an impeachment notice that would later be brought to the Assembly complex. The Senate Chamber will now be forced open to enable an illegal change of leadership take place in the Senate.

    “It should be noted that the Senate formally adjourned on July 24, 2018 and it stands adjourned. To reconvene, there is a process which has to be followed. Also, it should be clear that these Senators who are camped somewhere know the procedure for changing the leadership of the Senate.

    Both the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency officials masterminding this illegality know that they do not have the numbers to lawfully carry out this action.

    “Therefore, we call on members of the international community to view this development as a coup against democracy. This is a throw-back to the inglorious days of military rule where dissent is not tolerated and freedom of association and other fundamental human rights are willfully and carelessly violated.

    “We urge Nigerians and the international community to condemn this illegal invasion of the National Assembly complex and the attempt to asphyxiate the legislature as undemocratic, uncivilized and irresponsible.

    “Let us use this opportunity to thank our colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives who immediately mobilized to resist this coup against democracy. Their action will be recorded as one taken at a time when the soul of this country is being imperilled.

    They have acted to avert the breakdown of constitutionalism and collapse of the rule of law. They have stood up to dictatorship and demonstrated that this country belongs to all of us.

    “We also thank members of the press, local and international, and all Nigerians whose support for the cause of democracy have sustained us this far.

    Following this unpleasant development, the joint leadership meeting slated for this afternoon has been postponed till further notice because under the prevailing circumstances, we cannot guarantee the safety of the 20 members from both chambers expected at the meeting”, Saraki and Dogara stated.

    Signed
    1. Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON
    President of the Senate

    2. Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara
    Speaker, House of Representatives

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