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Afenifere, NEF, MBF, Ohanaeze, PANDEF condemn police action against Senate leadership

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Senate President Bukola Saraki

THE Forum of Nigerian Elders and Leaders, comprising pan- Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on Wednesday expressed shock by reports that the police attempted to prevent the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki from leaving his residence for the Senate to preside over last Tuesday’s plenary.

The leaders also expressed similar concern about report that the police, however, succeeded in stopping the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, from leaving his residence to attend to his constitutional responsibilities same day at the National Assembly.

The Forum said this in a statement signed by Mr Yinka Odumakin on behalf of Afenifere, Dr. Junaid Mohammed (NEF), Prof Chigozie Ogbu (Ohanaeze) Dr. Isuwa Dogo (MBF) and Senator Bassey Henshaw (PANDEF).

But the Forum reasoned that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim kpotun Idris, should immediately be sacked if he did not take instruction from President Muhammadu Buhari to carry out what it termed “this major infraction,” saying it rejected attempt by the Presidency to defend its stance on the issue on account of safeguarding the country’s constitutional democracy.

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“The President should, therefore, be held responsible for the actions of the police as he or his assignee are the only people who can authorize the IGP to carry out any directive.

“If the Inspector General of Police did not take instruction from Mr President to carry out this major infraction, he should be sacked immediately. We, therefore, reject the disingenuous attempt by the Presidency to say it is keeping its hands behind its back while the police rode roughshod over the fundamentals of our constitutional democracy,” the Forum said.

According to the leaders and elders, the action of the police under the leadership of Idris represents the highest level of irresponsible high-handedness and an assault on the democratic foundations of the nation, warning the Federal Government to desist from further damaging the democratic process by these acts of illegality and impunity.

The Forum said the warning became imperative because affront against the legislature was equally an affront against the people who elected them, calling on Nigerians to be vigilant.

“This Forum is alarmed at the degeneration in the levels of responsibility of agencies of the state vested with the duty to protect the people and democratic institutions and those leaders who should hold them responsible.

“The action of the police is condemned in its entirety by the Forum because it shows clearly an attempt to muzzle the legislative arm of government by the executive arm. It would no longer be a democracy where any of the three arms of government is emasculated by any strong-arm tactics by another arm in entirety.

“The Forum, therefore, warns the government to desist from further damaging the democratic process by these acts of illegality and impunity as we regard the affront against the legislature as an affront against the people who elected them and call on Nigerians to be vigilant,” the leaders and elders said.

The Forum, however, urged the leadership of the National Assembly to remain focussed and steadfast in the discharge of their responsibilities and defend the democratic space, contending that the legislature is the only organ that makes a difference between military rule and democratic regime.

It also urged all Nigerians to gird their loins as the country marched into “these challenging times” in order to prevent any attempt by any power to drag Nigeria back to the route she once travelled with attendant unpleasant consequences.

According to the Forum, it is time that Nigerians all say no to what it described as “this festering full blown dictatorship” threatening the democratic project in the country.

“We urge the leadership of the National Assembly to remain focussed and steadfast in the discharge of their responsibilities and defend the democratic space as the legislature is the only organ that makes a difference between military rule and democratic regime.

“Finally, we call on all Nigerians to gird their loins as we enter these challenging times and prevent any attempt by any power to drag us to the route this country once travelled with attendant unpleasant consequences. It is time we all say no to this festering full-blown dictatorship threatening the democratic project in Nigeria,” the leaders and elders said.

The post Afenifere, NEF, MBF, Ohanaeze, PANDEF condemn police action against Senate leadership appeared first on Tribune.

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