Revealed: the Background to DSS invasion of NASS
By Ogbuefi Ndigbo
Findings show that the massive defection drama that happened in the two chambers of the National Assembly on Tuesday, July 24 2018, that saw more than a dozen of its senators and 37 members of the House of Reps defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the prelude to the invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the State Security Service, DSS.
Our findings indicates yesterday’s drama was a fallout of scheming to impeach the National Assembly leadership.
APC sources said President Buhari was actually not aware of the last-minute scheming by the inner circle of people around him to checkmate what Saraki and Dogara wanted to do between Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th July 2018. For instance, it was gathered that he did not approve the involvement of the police to block Saraki’s convoy, the siege on Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu’s home, the invitation of the two officers by the police the previous night, and the plan to change the leadership of the National Assembly.
Asked whether he is responsible for what happened yesterday at the National assembly, Senate President, Bukola Saraki said: “It is an insult to our integrity. Those of you who were there yesterday saw that as early as 6am, scores of cars started arriving at NASS. We did not request for more security. The only times we have issues here are when the National Assembly is invaded, such as the theft of the mace. Let us not insult the intelligence of Nigerians.”
Though Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and an ardent supporter of President Buhari, had dismissed a claim that there were moves to remove Saraki as Senate President and Dogara as Speaker of the House of Reps through shady ways, he admitted soon after the defections that they a lot was done to checkmate the Tsunami that was looming over the National Assembly.
Senator Ibrahim, who is the chairman of Buhari Support Group (BSG), said “The impeachment process of the president (by Saraki-led Senate) should have started Thursday [26th July]. We know they were planning, and they realized we know. They knew that if they had remained up till today (Wednesday), a lot of things would have happened,” he said.
Another source said with this in view, on the day of the defections, the pro-Buhari senators had also completed plans to use the instruments of the state, including the DSS and the police to “forcefully” remove both Saraki and Dogara as presiding officers.
“That was what actually informed the siege on Saraki convoy, to stop him from getting to the National Assembly. Unknown to the police, he did not even sleep in his house in Maitama,” the source said.
But another source said members of the pro-Buhari group were not deterred when they realized that he was not in the convoy. “They actually wanted to force their way to remove him even while Saraki was in the gallery. However, when President Buhari heard what was happening, he reprimanded the high-profile security heads, and they all backed out. That was how the drama ended, and realizing the implications of what would have happened, Saraki read out the list of prospective defectors even though some had not finally decided to leave with him. It was the same thing at the House of Reps,” he said.
There are spirited machinations to effect leadership change at the Upper Chambers to give the ruling party firm control of parliament. Also, sources said two names are being considered as the likely replacement of Saraki, should the plot to oust him succeed.
The Chairman of the Parliament Support Group (PSG) for President Buhari in the Senate, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said: “If Saraki refuses to move, we will move him,” meaning by the time they resume from recess in September, the drama will continue. Though Saraki has defected but Dogara have not formally defected, the writing in the wall shows that it is just a matter of time, as he must have a firm platform ahead of party primaries for elective positions which will commence on August 18, and end on October 7.
Despite the defection of 14 lawmakers out of the APC to the PDP and ADC, the ruling party still maintains a slim majority in the Red Chamber, while the defections of 37 members of the House of Reps did not also take away the majority status of the APC.
As things stand, the APC has 53 senators, with the PDP having 50, while two are for APGA and ADC, respectively, with two other seats vacated as a result of the demise of senators Ali Wakili and Mustapha Bukar. But frantic efforts are on to forestall the movement of additional senators out of the party, while those who left are being impressed upon to return.
Who did it?
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the invasion by the DSS and Police was with the absolute knowledge and approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that Daura’s sack was an afterthought, diversionary and deceitful.
The party insists acting President Yemi Osinbajo should shed the idea of using the sacked Director General (DG) of the Directorate of Security, Lawan Daura as ‘the fall guy’ for Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by security forces.
In a statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, The PDP:
“recalls that it issued series of statements at the weekend alerting Nigerians to the plots against the National Assembly and democracy ahead of President Buhari’s overseas trip noting that the Presidency was silent on all the alarms raised by the Buhari Presidency.
“If anything, they urged the Senators and Members to remain steadied in their grave plan to ridicule our bastion of democracy, the National Assembly.
“The Presidency’s sack of Daura was a damage-control stunt and a knee-jerk gimmick which came as a response to the national and international outcry against the armed invasion of our legislature by security agents as directed by the Buhari Presidency.
“The action of security agents that blocked the National Assembly is treasonable and must attract appropriate sanctions under our law. It is not enough to take populist approach of easing Daura out of office. Our party demands an immediate investigation by an independent panel of inquiry headed by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria to examine the remote and immediate cause of the invasion”.
But according to the ruling APC, the timely intervention of the security operatives forestalled the planned violence which could have led to possible deaths, injuries and destruction of property in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
In a statement signed by Mr. Yekini Nabena, Ag. National Publicity Secretary, the invasion is a reaction to a sinister plot hatched by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to foment violence in the legislative chamber all in a bid to stop his impeachment.
“Why did the Senate President mobilise thugs to the National Assembly who almost lynched Hon. E.J. Agbonayinma, the only APC federal lawmaker present but for the timely intervention of security operatives.
“Why did the Senate President reconvene the National Assembly? Ostensibly as a pre-emptive move to frustrate federal lawmakers move to impeach him”, Mr Nabena asked.
Asked whether he is responsible for what happened yesterday at the National assembly, Senate President, Bukola Saraki said:
“It is an insult to our integrity. We have our security. Those of you who were there yesterday saw that as early as 6am, scores of cars started arriving at NASS. We did not request for more security. The only times we have issues here are when the National Assembly is invaded, such as the theft of the mace. Let us not insult the intelligence of Nigerians. Let us focus on issues that are important today, we must protect democracy and rule of law.”
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