The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned Wednesday’s invasion of National Assembly and seizure of Senate’s mace by thugs, describing it as direct assault on the legislature and attempt to truncate democracy.
The Party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, alleged that the offensive was emboldened by series of interferences on the legislative body by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Is it not strange that a legislative day appointed to further deliberate on the re-ordering of sequence of election will be the day that strange elements would invade the National Assembly, particularly the hallowed chambers of the Senate?
“Equally strange is the compromising of security in the National Assembly, paving the way for the invasion, which led to forceful removal of the mace.
“The parliament, all over the world, is the bastion of democracy, without which government becomes autocratic and totalitarian,’’ it said.
The PDP urged Nigerians to pause and reflect on the series of assaults on the legislature under the current dispensation.
These, according to the party, include the persecution and harassment of the leaders and members of the Senate on trumped-up charges, including declaring a serving senator wanted by the Police.
It, therefore, urged the National Assembly to bring forth every legislative instrument to protect itself from external aggression.
It also called on the lawmakers to use legislative instrument to unravel every person, office and institution that played any roles in the “wild attempt to scuttle’’ Nigeria’s hard-earned democracy.
“Our nation has accepted democracy as the best form of governance.
“Those whose adrenaline cannot accommodate democracy and its constitutionally-guaranteed tenets should either shape in or be forced to conform to the best ideals of democracy.’’
Similarly, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar condemned the invasion of the Senate chamber and the removal of the mace by hoodlums.
In a statement by his Media Office in Abuja, Abubakar described the incident as “dangerous precedent and an assault on Nigeria’s democracy by anti-democratic elements’’.
“I am utterly embarrassed, shocked and outraged by this ugly development because it is not only a threat to a major democratic institution, but also represents a grave danger to the survival of our democracy.”
He said that given the tension in the country, the timing of the attack could not have come at a worse time for Nigeria.
He added that using illegal and unconstitutional methods to threaten the authority of a key democratic institution was unacceptable, evil and condemnable.
The former vice president noted that it was inconceivable that hoodlums could force their way into the Senate chamber and take away the mace.
According to him, if criminals can commit such security breach with impunity, it means that our entire democracy is in danger.
He warned those behind the illegality to avoid creating a monster that could consume them.
Abubakar, who said that many people had died in order to bring democracy to the country, called for immediate investigation into the incident and the prompt prosecution of those involved.
“It is unacceptable and reprehensible to subject the National Assembly to this intimidation and humiliation.
“This attack by thugs should not go unpunished no matter who is involved,” he said, and likening democratic institutions to the human body, added that “if one organ is harmed, it affects others”.
He urged those pushing the country’s political temperature to dangerous levels to desist from it as they were playing a Russian roulette with Nigeria’s democracy.
Abubakar called for unity, calm and an end to the culture of political disunity in the country. (NAN)