•Sacked DSS boss to remain under house arrest
•How Saraki sponsored DSS’ invasion of NASS – APC
•It’s false, I’m also a victim of Daura’s activities – Saraki
•Dares Oshiomhole, APC senators; seeks trial of masterminds
•Presidency, APC, confused, overburdened by guilt – PDP
By Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
By Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—THE Presidency, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s termination of the appointment of Lawal Daura as the Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, who disclosed this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, chaired by the Acting President, said the Presidency was one.
He said: “What we will like to say for the umpteenth time is that the presidency is one. Whenever the President is proceeding on vacation he transmits power to the Vice President, who then becomes the acting president. On this occasion, he also did that.
“So, the Acting President has all the powers of a president. Now, it’s a matter of decency and we know that the acting President is a decent man; there is no tussle for power, there is no battle between him and the president.
Ex DSS boss Daura
“When something like what happened yesterday will happen, there will be unanimity. There is no way there won’t be unanimity on that kind of decision. It’s not something that will be discussed with the press but know that there was unanimity in the decision.”
Daura under house arrest
Meanwhile, the Presidency, yesterday, said the sacked Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Lawal Daura will remain under house arrest.
A Presidency source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said shortly after the dismissal of the former DSS boss by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, he (Daura) was arrested right inside the Presidential Villa by men of the Nigerian Police Force.
The source also confirmed that Daura was currently being detained in one of the presidential guest houses at Aso Rock.
He said: “He will remain there until several investigations over certain issues bordering on him are concluded.”
It was reliably gathered that when the sacked DSS DG finished his meeting with Osinbajo on Tuesday after the siege to the National Assembly, he did not follow the normal exit route. Rather he was said to have been secretly whisked away from the Acting President’s office by police officers, even without the knowledge of his aides that came with him.
Besides being one of the favourite appointees of President Buhari, the sacked DSS boss was accused executing different controversial actions which the government believed were painting it in bad light.
Among such actions were the raid in October on the homes of judges accused of corruption, who were later not found guilty and the damaging report against the confirmation of the EFCC boss.
Since Daura was booted out, the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has been meeting with the Acting President.
These came yesterday as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said it had investigated the circumstances surrounding Tuesday’s blockade of the National Assembly by security operatives, and accused Senate President Bukola Saraki of sponsoring the plot as part of his last-minute bid to halt his impeachment.
However, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Senate President pooh-poohed the presidency and APC’s statements. While the PDP said the presidency and the ruling party were confused and overburdened by guilt, Saraki said he is a victim of Daura’s activities and could not have sponsored the siege to the National Assembly.
Going further, he dared the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the senators elected on the party’s platform to impeach him if they can muster the legally required two-third majority.
Calling for prosecution of the masterminds of the invasion and blaming ‘government within Buhari’s administration’ for the current crisis, he urged the president to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill into law.
Saraki sponsored DSS’ invasion of NASS — APC
Acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, in a statement in Abuja said: “Our investigations have now uncovered the 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.
“We are now aware that 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.
“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. Is it not curious that only Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, federal lawmakers were present in their numbers-some as early as 7am, while the majority of APC federal lawmakers were elsewhere holding a caucus meeting on the state of the nation?”
The APC called “on security agencies and relevant bodies to, as a matter of urgency, probe these findings and take all necessary and legitimate action to stop these illegalities, which pose a direct and ominous threat to our democracy.
“As espoused in our earlier statement, whilst our contention with the leadership of the National Assembly, as currently constituted, is a matter of public record, we still believe that the legislature, as an independent arm of government, must be allowed free reign for vibrant contestation of ideas and values amongst its members within the context of their constitutional mandate and for the benefit of the Nigerian people.
“Finally, we reiterate our call for the Senate President to resign from the position immediately as he no longer has the moral and legitimate ground to occupy that position as a member of the minority PDP going by the popular axiom, ‘the majority will have their way, but the minority will have their say”, the party added.
I’m a victim of Daura’s activities — Saraki
Responding, Saraki denied allegations he compromised Daura, who was sacked on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press briefing, yesterday, the Senate President, who noted that his security details were recently reduced, said “let us not insult the intelligence of Nigerians.”
Describing the masterminds of the DSS blockade of the National Assembly as cowards, he also dared Comrade Oshiomhole and the APC senators to go and secure two- third to impeach him.
Saraki lampooned the APC senators, asking them to stop being cowards on their alleged plot to remove him and his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, through what he described as illegal session, resort to the use of illegal and crude methods like the security agencies for assaults on the parliament and by extension, democracy, adding that Nigeria is not a Banana Republic.
Saraki said: “The very day 2/3 majority of senators withdraw their confidence in me or support for me, I will quit as Senate President, the same path, I believe, my Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara will toe if such scenarios play out.”
Saraki, who was flanked at the briefing by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, senators and PDP members of the House of Representatives, stressed that the show of shame that played out, on Tuesday, with the barricade carried out by the DSS operatives on all entries to the National Assembly and subsequent dismissal of Daura were clear indications that government within government earlier said to be in existence in the Buhari-led administration really exists.
His words: “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, almost on a daily basis, we are seeing the manifestations of that government within a government. It beats one’s imagination how the head of a security agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday (Tuesday). Despite the threat to our lives, we shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country.”
Saraki, who described the Legislature as the symbol of hope said: “The legislature, more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of government, represents the will of the people. We are elected by the people, and an assault on the legislature is an assault on the people of Nigeria. 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, our colleagues in both chambers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who refused to leave the entrance of this Complex until the siege was broken, strengthens our faith in the people of this country.”
Electoral Act Amendment
Saraki, who called on President Buhari to sign the 2018 Electoral Amendment Bill into law, however assured Nigerians that the National Assembly under his leadership, is studying the situation as regards urgent funds for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, adding, “I want to reassure Nigerians that, on our part, 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. “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 and are alive to the responsibility to take action as necessary.
“Unfortunately, Tuesday’s shutdown prevented us from meeting with INEC, as scheduled, to address funding concerns. We will continue to look into the matter. 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.”
Hailing the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for sacking the DG, DSS, Lawal Daura, Saraki said, “We thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday (Tuesday). His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence and the image of our country. It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy. The path of leadership is not by party, and 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 invasion was allowed to happen in the first place.”
On the lessons that have been learned so far, Saraki said: “For one, government must ensure that security agencies remain neutral and act in line with the position of the constitution as well as their enabling laws. 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.”
On the focus of the National Assembly, the Senate President said: “In this dark cloud, we can see the silver lining, and that silver lining is the commitment of Nigerians to defending their hard-won democracy. We want to reassure Nigerians that, on our part, 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. We stand committed to doing our utmost as lawmakers to ensure that the responsibility and functionality of governance are met. My confidence is unshaken. We remain committed to the success of the historic 8th National Assembly, and to the continued progress of our country.”
Akpabio’s defection, a local matter
During the question and answer session, Saraki described the defection of former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio from the PDP to the APC as a local matter and declined to state the position that he would be contesting for in the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, a member, House of Representatives, Solomon Maren, APC, Plateau, has said that all those involved in the ugly drama should be tried for treason because it was a coup that failed, adding, “when you commit a treasonable felony the penalty is execution; so they should be tried to serve as deterrent to others.
Also, Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, APC, Lagos said: “The siege to the National Assembly by DSS operatives must be condemned by all men and women of goodwill. We must, however, tarry a while until investigations are completed and facts of what actually happened emerge.
“We must act responsibly and no one must be allowed to bring down our hard-earned democracy. The Presidency has done what needs to be done at a time like this and the APC Caucus of the House will make a full statement in the next couple of days by which time all the facts must have been gotten.”
In like manner, Second Republic Politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, said what happened will continue and probably lead to the collapse of Nigeria unless the country is urgently restructured.
Presidency, APC, confused, overburdened by guilt — PDP
On its part, the PDP said the Presidency and the APC have become confused and overburdened by guilt, following what it called the barrage of national and international outcry against them over their failed attempt to illegally takeover the National Assembly, on Tuesday.
The party said with the failure of the Presidency and the ruling party to sway the public with the sack of the Director General of the DSS, Lawal Daura on Tuesday, they have become worried in their bid to politicize the invasion.
In a press statement issued by the party’s Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP faulted APC’s remark, linking Senate President Saraki with the invasion.
“How can the APC accuse Senate President Saraki of causing security concerns by ‘reconvening’ the National Assembly, when it is public knowledge that the National Assembly has not been reconvened despite the pressure by the National Chairman of the APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang and Senator Ahmed Lawan on the leadership of the Senate to reconvene?”
“Is it not revealing that the APC, in alleging that the Senate President ‘reconvened’ the Senate as a pre-emptive move to frustrate federal lawmakers’ move to impeach him, unwittingly exposed their plot to cause violence and illegally take over the Senate?
“The APC, in its statement has finally vindicated our position regarding its plans to stampede the Senate President to reopen the National Assembly wherein it will unleash thugs and security agencies to trigger violence, overwhelm the legislature and forcefully takeover the leadership of the Senate.
“Nigerians are now clear on the fact that the invasion was carefully planned by the APC and the Presidency and that they would have succeeded but for the resistance mounted by our lawmakers, Nigerians and the media, who stood in defence of democracy.
“We invite Nigerians to note that in its attempt to politicize the invasion and provide cover for the culprits in the Presidency and the APC, the APC has ended up exposing their sinister plots and culpability.”