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Sagay, others condemn police action at National Assembly


LAGOS – A constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has condemned Thursday’s action by the police at the National Assembly complex.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was chaos when the police locked the gates of the National Assembly against the Speaker of the House, Mr Aminu Tambuwal and some legislators who wanted to gain entrance.

Some of the lawmakers and their aides were also tear gassed by the security operatives in the process before they were able to get it.

Speaking in a telephone interview with NAN in Lagos, Sagay said the action of the police on the legislators portends a great danger to Nigeria’s democracy.

He said:”What transpired today at the National Assembly portends a great danger to Nigeria’s democracy.

“For the police to have attacked the legislature, which is the second arm of government, such an attack must have been sanctioned from above.

Sagay advised security operatives to maintain neutrality at all times, adding that they had no constitutional powers to interfere with legislative processes.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also warned those in power not to throw away Nigeria’s hard won democracy because of inordinate ambitions and selfish interests.

Speaking similarly, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, urged Nigerian leaders to focus on the current challenges being faced by the country.

“We are battling with austerity, we are battling with the state of insecurity, we are battling with low levels of infrastructures and Nigerians are really suffering.

“But in the light of all these, our leaders are only fighting themselves and looking for more political powers. It is so shameful,” Ubani said.

He also flayed the police for attempting to stop the House of Representative members from performing their constitutional duties.

Ubani said:”What is the business of the security agencies in stopping legislators elected by the people from coming into the house?

“It is not their job to do whatever they did this morning. They allowed some persons in and stopped others which showed that they were clearly partisan.

He noted that while it was shameful to see lawmakers scaling the fence to gain entrance into the complex, those who did so were only out to prove a point.

“They were only trying to prove a point that not even the police can stop them from carrying out the responsibility entrusted to them by the Constitution,” Ubani said.

Human Rights lawyers, Fred Agbaje and Kayode Ajulo also condemned action of the Police.

In his reaction, Agbaje, told NAN in a telephone interview that what the policemen did was “sacrilegious”.

“The attack by the police on the National Assembly was unwarranted and is capable of truncating our democracy” Agbaje said.

On the constitutional right of the Senate President, David Mark to adjourn sitting of the assembly until next week following the police invasion, Agbaje said that Mark had the right to do so.

“He is the head of the National Assembly and has the right to adjourn if the members were in danger of an attack,” he said.

Ajulo, told NAN that “police incessant dabbling into the nation’s politics has got to stop”.

He advised the IG to call his men to order especially now that politicking for 2015 was gathering momentum.(NAN)

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