IMMEDIATE past National Care Taker Committee Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi has described the assault on the Principal Officers of the National Assembly in the early hours of Tuesday as a setback to our developing democracy.
This was contained in a statement issued to our media team on Tuesday and signed by his spokesman, Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo.
The statement read in part : ‘Nigerians woke up again this morning to the rather very sad and disturbing incidences of the siege on the residences of Principal Officers of the National Assembly, by detachments of the Nigerian Police Force, obviously to stop them from presiding over the day’s session, which eventually witnessed the defection of some Senators from the ruling party.
‘Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi considers this assault on the leadership of the National Assembly, an independent arm of government and one of the legs of the tripod upon which the presidential system rests, as dangerous, primitive and one that constitutes a very serious threat to democracy in our country.
‘It is a clear breach of one of the fundamental tenets of Presidential democracy, which provides for separation of powers. It also constitutes a serious abuse of the fundamental human rights of the targeted individuals, both the presiding officers and the defectors respectively, because the right to associate is inalienable.
‘Sadder still is the fact that this impunity and crass disrespect to legality and constitutionality are being perpetrated under a government that is itself a beneficiary of respect for the rule of law by the then PDP government.
‘That the nation’s parliamentarians and their leadership could brazenly be treated like criminals under a democratic setting simply because of political differences is truly an unsettling descent into wanton abuse of power by those sworn to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. This descent into the abyss must be halted and reversed.
‘These strong-arm tactic adopted by the Police is a setback to our developing democracy and a serious dent on the standing of Nigeria as a bastion of hope in the comity of democratic nations in Africa and it further accentuates the fears of many Nigerians that rather than consolidate on the gains of the 2015 transition, the nation’s democracy is not only stagnant but being dangerously driven into the precipice by those who ordinarily, ought to know better.
‘This brazen abuse of power, underscores Senator Makarfi’s popular refrain of recent about the need to, as Nigerians respond to the cries of restructuring, look critically at institutions such as the police and others with a view to restructuring them to make them serve the state rather than continue to operate at the whims and caprices of political leaders.
‘Senator Makarfi appeals to Nigerians to remain peaceful but vigilant and do everything within the law to stand up against forces bent on reversing our democracy gains.
‘He equally calls on the Police and other security agencies to be professional in the discharge of their duties and never forget the fact that their loyalty is to the Nigerian nation, and not the holders of the levers of its political power, as there will always be a Tomorrow.
‘The Senator also welcomes the many Senators and members of the House of Representatives who have taken the wise decision to return home to the PDP and assures them of his personal commitment to play his own part, to ensure that the party truly welcomes them back.