Inspector General of Police (IGP) Suleiman Abba yesterday, failed to appear before the Senate as directed by Senate President David Mark.
The IGP was invited to explain the crisis of last week, in which a detachment of the Police clashed with some members of the national assembly, resulting the shooting of tear gas canisters by the Police.
However, the IGP sent a representation which angered the Upper Chamber, insisting that the IGP appeared before it in person.
Meanwhile, the All Progressive congress (APC) has described the police invasion of the National Assembly last Thursday as an equivalent of a coup. The Party has also called for an independent inquiry to determine who ordered the invasion and for what purpose.
The party believes that this will help to prevent a recurrence and also meting out the necessary punishment to those behind the invasion.
In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said using weapons to attack an arm of government and preventing it from carrying out its functions amounted to a coup.
It described the tear gas allegedly fired into the National Assembly by policemen as a chemical weapon.
APC said, “We are demanding the independent inquiry in view of the seriousness of the armed attack on the National Assembly and the danger it poses to our democracy. We are also alerting the international community to the happenings in Nigeria and urging them to show interest because of their investment in the country’s democracy.
“The tepid denial by the Presidency of its involvement in the senseless attack is not enough to stop the finger-pointing at it (Presidency), especially because no one, not even the Inspector General of Police, will have the temerity to stop the nation’s number four citizen from entering the National Assembly without an express order from the President. “This is why we have continuously held President (Goodluck Jonathan) responsible for last week’s show of shame,” the party said.
It noted that the IG was a “tool in the hands of a President that had perhaps done more than any other President before him to truncate the nation’s democracy.”
The statement added, “We make bold to say that President Jonathan has worked assiduously to put Nigeria’s democracy in jeopardy, whether in Rivers, where he backed a misguided Police Commissioner to usurp the constitutional duties of an elected Governor, or in Ekiti State, where he has so far refused to condemn the so-called impeachment of the Speaker by seven Peoples Democratic Party members in a 26-member House of Assembly.
”Also, apart from the half-hearted and belated denial, the President has not condemned the attack on the National Assembly by the police. A President that is conversant with the dictates of the constitution, which he swore an oath to protect, would have gone ahead to make a national broadcast to condemn the police invasion of the Assembly and even promised to get to the root of the matter. “Instead, our President has maintained an undignified silence in the face of the global outcry that has greeted the orchestrated police action,” it added.
The party advised Jonathan to stop “behaving as if he wants to be the last President of a united Nigeria” and to immediately put an end to actions that were inimical to the survival of the country’s democracy.
The party congratulated the members of the National Assembly, especially those who scaled the high gates of the National Assembly, for the sacrifices they had made to defend the nation’s democracy.
It said the lawmakers, by their action, risked their lives for the survival of Nigeria’s democracy, describing them as heroes.
APC added, “The lawmakers, who united across party lines last week to restore the integrity of the House of Representatives and prevent an attempt to truncate our democracy, are heroes, because if they had not done what they did, no one could have imagined the consequences of the orchestrated police action against the National Assembly.
”The Senators, who stormed the House in sympathy and solidarity with their colleagues, including Senate President David Mark, should also be commended by all for resisting tyranny and for facing up to anti-democratic forces,” the party said.
Meanwhile the Peoples Democratic Party said yesterday that it would no longer condone what it described as deliberate, unwarranted and sustained vicious attacks on the person and office of President Goodluck Jonathan by the opposition, the All Progressives Congress.
PDP National Publicity, Chief Olisa Metuh, who stated this in on behalf of the party, insisted that the opposition must end the attack.
He said his party had been watching carefully as members of APC, including its national officers, governors, presidential aspirants continued to castigate the president for no just cause.
“The PDP has been watching carefully as the rank and file of the APC, the governors, party leaders, presidential hopefuls and even sidekicks run amok, competing in a heavily subjective castigation of President Goodluck Jonathan with incendiary utterances, signposting its plans for the dastardly when it loses in next year’s general elections. “However, patriotism, the cardinal value of our great party, indeed, the price of our custodianship of the mandate of over 160 million Nigerians calls for vigilance, maturity and responsibility, hence our restraints in the face of the naked lies and recklessness of the APC”, he said.
He called on the opposition to learn from its (PDP) political campaigns, which he said were issue-based and advised the APC on the need to maintain political decorum and primacy of national interest in the build-up to the forthcoming elections.
Metuh however regretted that APC had refused to shed its penchant for lies, deceit, propaganda, violence and blackmail as the center piece of their agenda and message to Nigerians.
While alleging that the aim of the APC was to set the stage for violence, but instill fear in Nigerians, discourage them from actively participating in the electoral process thereby giving room for them to perpetrate all manners of electoral malpractices, he said such ideas would not be bought by Nigerians.
Metuh also claimed that leaders of the APC had while contesting on different platforms in 2011, issued such threats and allegedly went ahead to precipitate an unprecedented electoral violence in which hundreds of innocent Nigerians lost their lives.
About 20 civil society groups have announced plans to mobilise Nigerians for street protests against the spate of insecurity in the country and the alleged disregard for the law by the Federal Government.
The groups, which formed an alliance called Nigerians for Survival of Democracy, in a press briefing yesterday said they were worried about recent political crisis in the country.
National Coordinator of the alliance, Mr. Raji Rasheed, said the Jonathan administration had failed to convince Nigerians that it was capable of delivering good governance to Nigerians.
He said, “The level of insecurity and terror activities has reached an unprecedented level in the Northeast of the country, after more than 18 months of state of emergency. There are compelling reasons to doubt the sincerity of this government since, many times, our soldiers on the battlefield have complained of lack of incentives which culminated into chaos and suspicion among the Army hierarchy.
Rasheed, who said the groups would organise protests in all the state capitals on December 4, 2014, called on Nigerians not to be deluded by the promise of a free and fair election in 2015.
He said, “Nigerians should not be deluded that this administration is sincere in delivering a free and fair election in 2015. One only needs to look at the events of the last two years to understand the dangerous and unprecedented level of division, deceit, corruption, anarchy and lawlessness that was either perpetrated or unequivocally supported and promoted by this government. With recent events, we are more than convinced that a free and fair election in 2015 is almost impossible.
“Just as we thought this may never happen, we saw just last few days how the same ruling party in Ekiti State locked out 18 members of the legislative arm and used the remaining seven to impeach the Speaker of the Assembly. The Nigerian Bar Association was quick to condemn this illegality but to us, it is a sign of worst things to come,” he added.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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