Condemning as unconstitutional and an attempt to force regime change in the National Assembly, a leading pro-democracy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari to desist from illegal deployment of armed security forces to scuttle legislative independence.
Reacting against the backdrop of the reported invasions of the private residences of Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki by armed police operatives and the deputy senate president Professor Ike Ekweremadu by combined teams of DSS, police and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), HURIWA urged the President to endeavor to act as a statesman so generations yet unborn will not know him for evil.
Reminding the President that he is obliged by his oath of office to bear true allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, HURIWA affirmed that it was illegal to deploy armed security forces to physically restrain principal officers of an arm of government from accessing their offices with a sinister plot to instigate internal rebellion leading to possible regime change in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It cited copiously from the Constitution to affirm that it was unconstitutional to use the force of arm and coercion to stop Senate leaders from enjoying their constitutional freedoms as enshrined in the relevant sections as follows: Section 35 (1), 36 (1)and 40 stated thus: 35 (1) “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law – in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty; by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed upon him by law; for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence. 36 (1) “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality. 40 “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of this interests.”
“We view the illegal manipulations of all arms of the security forces including the anti-graft body by the presidency against the current hierarchy of the National Assembly to achieve pre-determined political objective of change of leadership by unconstitutional means as a major and indeed a fundamental threat to constitutional democracy.”
“The ignominious role of the current Inspector General of police Alhaji Ibrahim Kpodum Idriss to slavishly use his armed operatives to harass, intimidate and attempt to rope in the person of the Senate President into the Offa Bank robbery as very disingenuous, despicable and reprehensible. We call on the international community and world leaders to call President Muhammadu Buhari to order in other that he will not let his over ambition to return for a second term make him to manipulate security forces to crumble the democracy that we all fought very hard to institutionalize.”
HURIWA in the statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf urged the senators and Nigerians to defend democracy and prevent the executive arm of government from destabilizing the National Assembly.
“May we inform the Senators and Nigerians that the constitutionally guaranteed principle of separation of powers as unambiguously provided for in sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Nigerian constitution is the beauty of democracy and the moment this independence of both the legislature and judiciary is emasculated and muzzled by the executive arm of government, that illegality will signal the demise of democracy.”
HURIWA cited the oath of office of the president to remind the president that he is constitutionally obliged not to deploy armed security forces to carry out illegal assignments of a politically tainted nature such as the arbitrary arrest of principal leaders of the legislature without adherence to the Principle of rule of law just as it stated that even with the plot to rope in National Assembly officers into some phantom crimes will not stand the test of time.
HURIWA asked President to recall that he swore an oath binding on him to “Be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, wellbeing and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy contained in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”