NASS Invasion: I'll leave if impeached by two-thirds of the Senate - Saraki

Date: 2018-08-09

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has said he is not desperate to stay in office adding that he will leave if impeached by two-third majority of the upper chamber.

Saraki stated this yesterday while addressing a 'World press Conference' on Tuesday’s siege to the National Assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS).

The Senate President defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in July, sparking calls for his resignation/impeachment by the ruling party.

"The day two-third of our members no longer have confidence in us, we will leave this place," Saraki said as he wound up his speech.

Meanwhile, the Senate President has called for investigation into the involvement of the DSS in the blockade at the entrance of the National Assembly.

Saraki said that to forestall a recurrence of the incident, an investigation should be carried out and perpetrators brought to book.

He said, "We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occurs again. Many agencies have abused their powers and acted outside the ambit of the law on the occasion.

"Where abuses occur, similar actions must be taken immediately and full investigation instituted.

"The 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.

"As a nation, we reaped the bitter fruits instantaneously as evident in media images relayed around the world, images that brought us shame 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.

"People who seek control at all costs, by whatever means, never mind the injury to democratic norms."

Saraki said that the standoff did not bring embarrassment to him or any of the lawmakers, but to Nigeria as a nation."

He regretted that rather than meet the expectations of the world, Nigeria was “wallowing in impunity and illegal show of force, all of which retard our progress.

Saraki commended staff of the assembly and all Nigerians for standing against the siege, adding that it was a demonstration of the people's strong resolve not to give heed to oppression.

He stressed that "the legislature, more than any other institution in this country, more than any other arm of government, represents the will of the people.

"The resistance mounted by staff of National Assembly, 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.

"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.

"By this, we have shown that Nigerians can resist government within government in whatever guise, and this is humbling for me."

Saraki said that those who sought to attack the National Assembly under his leadership had only affirmed his belief in Nigeria.

"I want to thank Nigerians, senators, members of House of Representatives and National Assembly staff, for standing up to be counted for democracy during yesterday's siege.

"I thank the thousands who monitored the situation on radio, television and social media, voicing their outrage at the siege.

"The action sent a clear message to those that hatched the plot that the Nigerian public would not buy this act of gangster action using instruments of state such as the DSS.

"I also thank the international community, particularly the European Union and the international press, for their prompt reactions to the invasion of the National Assembly.

"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, I believe that Hon. 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 the barricade at the National Assembly and 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 laud all who kicked against the atrocity and who stood firm until sanity prevailed. 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.

"This is what we have been saying about the power of the people. The role of the people in defending democracy is paramount," he said.

Saraki also appreciated the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for handling the situation the way he did.

He said, "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.

"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 atrocity happened in the first place.

"This is an incident concerning which we have it on good authority that it has been in the planning for months, and 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? Very serious questions remain that can only be answered by a full investigation.

"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. "This is not the Change we fought for. We did not fight for instruments of state to be used to oppress Nigerians and their lawmakers.

"I know that I, certainly, did not fight that the legislature could be undermined and subjected to this onslaught."

Saraki, however urged the Federal Government to ensure that security agencies remained neutral and acted in line with the position of the Constitution as well as their enabling laws.

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