INVASION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, RAPE ON DEMOCRACY

The mellow drama that unfolded last week at the national assembly, precisely the senate building where some gang of armed and masked DSS operatives barred senators from going into the senate chambers was not only unconstitutional but shameful in this dispensation of our democracy. The other annoying side to the story is their reply when quizzed by journalists – order from above.

It would be recalled that about three weeks ago, the senate had commenced recess to resume legislative duties on September 25th 2018. But an emergency sitting to consider the financial request of INEC was called at the instance of the senate president, senator Bukola Saraki and INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu was to partake in the meeting as well.

Senators sighted at the premises that morning were mainly from the People’s Democratic Party who condemned the presence of the DSS in strong terms. Ben Maurice Bruce, a senator from Bayelsa State was blunt in his comment, daring the APC and senator Akpabio to show up quick and execute their predetermined plan.

We in The Lens join other discerning Nigerians to condemn this act of the DSS which is a rape on democracy. The action of the security agency is an affront on Nigerians as the legislature is the only structure of government among the three levels, that represents democracy. Indeed, the Nigerian state was ambushed by the executives to wrestle power from the people.

This misdemeanor, though not unconnected with the bizarre defections in the national assembly, albeit its bandwagon effects on state assemblies and the governors, ought to have been managed and handled in accordance with laid down procedures in the constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Separation of powers and the rule of law which are critical elements in democratic governance has been bridged. Each arm of government – executive, legislature and judiciary by the constitution are supposed to be independent of one another and in the case of any altercation, there are laid down procedures to resolve it.

We in The Lens commend the acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for acting quickly by not only condemning the act but ordering the sacking of the DSS boss, Lawal Daura as well as absolving the FG of complicity in the show of brute force by the agency.

But beyond this damage control, we are of the opinion in The Lens that those found contravening the law should be exposed fully to the punishment as entrenched in the relevant clauses in the constitution. And where punishment for culprits are mild or outdated, such provisions should be strengthened with new legislations to block loopholes which hitherto had encouraged and indulge would be offenders to commit the crime.

Published in maiden edition, Lens Newspapers Vol. 1 No. 7.

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