The situation in the National Assembly remains fluid as the Senate adjourned for September 25, but members remained behind to work on an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Bill for next year’s election.
In the House of Representatives, 37 members announced their decision to leave the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), with 32 saying they were joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Four left for the African Democratic Congress (ADC). One did not name the party he was headed for.
The lawmakers all cited internal crisis in the APC, but curiously, as happened in the Senate, Speaker Yakubu Dogara did not announce his departure, just like his deputy, Yusuf Lasun.
When 15 Senators dumped APC earlier Tuesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki did not speak on his own decision even though he alluded to it in a statement on Monday night.
Also, Tuesday, while Saraki was still presiding in the Upper Legislative chamber, the police issued a subtle threat to him to heed its invitation or face the music.
In a statement, Police spokesman, Acting Deputy Commissioner Jimoh Moshood, said the policemen who shut in Saraki in his residence were not acting on orders from the police high command.
In one breath, he concluded they were from Saraki’s security team, while in another, he said the headquarters will investigate where the policemen came from.
The statement titled, “RE: INVITATION TO SEN. BUKOLA SARAKI, THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE CASE OF OFFA BANK ROBBERY AND GRUESOME MURDER OF MORE THAN 31 PERSONS AND SNATCHING OF 21 AK47 RIFLES ON THE 5TH OF APRIL, 2018,” reads: “The Senate President must honour Police Invitation; otherwise the Force will not hesitate to use all the instruments of the Law to ensure compliance with the law.
“The Force did not besiege the Senate President residence as alleged
“The Nigeria Police Force on the 23rd of July, 2018 invited Sen. Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to report to the head of investigation team at the Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape junction, Asokoro Extension, Abuja today, 24th of July, 2018 at 8am for further investigation on his indictment from confessional statements from some of the five (5) gang leaders arrested for their active participation in the Offa bank robbery and gruesome murder of more than 31 persons and snatching of 21 AK47 rifles on the 5th of April, 2018 but the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria refused to honour Police invitation as at the time of this press release.
“The Force therefore, insists that the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria is being expected to report to the head of investigation team at the Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape junction, Asokoro Extension, Abuja and should honour the invitation, otherwise the Force will not hesitate to use all the instruments of the law to ensure compliance with the law.
“The Nigeria Police Force’s attention was also drawn to the innuendos in the early hours of today that some Police men were seen surrounding the residence of the Senate President; the Force wishes to categorically state that there was no authorised deployment of Police personnel to besiege the residence of the Senate President or his deputy as reported in the media. The police personnel seen in pictures in the media were those in the convoy of the Senate President and others attached to him.
“However, the Inspector General of Police has directed a thorough investigation to ascertain the facts in the episode. The Force will not allow the end of justice to be perverted by this distraction.
“The Nigeria Police will ensure that the rule of law prevails in this matter.”
Recall that in his reaction to the invitation on Monday night, Saraki stated that the invitation to him by the Police to report to a station in Guzape over the Offa robbery investigation is a mere afterthought which is designed to achieve political purpose.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that he has it on good authority that the Police had already decided on the suspects to arraign in court in Ilorin, Kwara State on Wednesday based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed U.E. and that the turn around to invite him was a ploy aimed at scoring cheap political points.
” I have been reliably informed that the police invitation was planned by IG as a ploy to stop an alleged plan by some Senators and House of Representatives members from defecting from the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was also said that if I was detained between Tuesday and Wednesday, that will abort the so-called defection plan.
“While I continue to maintain that the issue of my position on the 2019 elections is not a personal decision for me alone to make, it should be noted that all these concoctions and evil plot cannot deter me. Those behind this fresh assault will fail as I have nothing to do with the robbery incident or any criminal matter for that matter.
“I am aware that following a request made by the Police on June 13, 2018 to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Fedeeation had written a legal advice dated June 22, 2018, in which he stated on page 5, paragraph (f) that “For the Senate President and the Kwara State Governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged office and the suspects”.
“The Police have obviously corrupted and politicized their investigations into the Offa robbery incident. They have turned it into an instrument for the party in power to suppress perceived opponents, witchunt issue for blackmailing people from freely choosing which platform on which they want to pursue their ambition and a matter for harassing the people whose exit from APC would harm the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.
” I want to make it apparent that I have no hand in either the robbery incident or any criminal acitivity. The Police in their haste to embarrass me sent the invitation to me at 8pm and requested that I report to the station by 8am tomorrow morning. This obviously demonstrated their desperation as I do not see why they are now in a hurry.
“They also stated in today’s letter that because in my response of June 7, 2018 to their own letter written on June 4, 2018, I stated that I was responding simply to the contents of the letter and that the full text of the statement made by the arrested suspects which they claimed indicted me was not made available to me, they were now including the suspects statements in the current letter. Yet, instead of including the suspects’ statements, they only attached two copies of my own letter to the invitation. No suspects statement was made available.
“This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail.
“Once again, my confidence in God and our judicial system remains intact and unshaken. The truth shall also prevail in this case”, he stated.