- There was a protest in support of the National Assembly by a coalition group
- The Senate however assured that it would not be intimidated
- They promised to defend democracy and not be forced by the executive
The National Assembly has vowed that it would not be intimidated or forced to do the bidding of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
The National Assembly gave this position just as protesters under the aegis of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution besieged the complex to support it.
They said: “We are here to inform the world that democracy is under threat in Nigeria. We have seen some very wicked, satanic and devilish attempts to destroy the National Assembly by some people who have obnoxious proposition about the need to scrap the Senate or the National Assembly.
“We are not here to defend an individual senator or the leadership of the Senate, but we to defend the institution and independence of the National Assembly.
“We will not allow the likes of Prof. Itsey Sagay and Femi Falana to misinterpret what the constitution says. These people, when the DSS invaded the residences of our judges, came out to commend the DSS and insisted that the judges invaded should step down.
“But the same DSS report indicted the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu but the same people started blaming the National Assembly and saying Magu must remain on his seat. Where do we go from here?”
Vanguard reports that Senator Solomon Olamilekan who spoke on behalf of the entire National Assembly said it will not be intimidated.
He said: “Let me stand on behalf of the leadership of the National Assembly under Senator Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to thank the people of this country for coming out in their numbers like this to say no to killing of the legislature.
“Like you have rightly said, the legislature remains the symbol of democracy. If by tomorrow, there’s an institution of democracy that needs to be shut down, to say there’s no more democracy in Nigeria, it is the legislature, because we remain the voice of the people, we remain the representatives of the people, and we are the spokespersons of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Today, as far as the Federal Republic of Nigeria is concerned, the governance of this country rests squarely on the 469 legislators and the president and the vice president.”
The tension between the legislature and the executive has been attributed to the retention of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as against the recommendation of senators who asked for his removal.
The refusal of Hameed Ali, the comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs Service to appear before the Senate was also seen as an affront on the Senate.
President Buhari has set up a committee to foster peace between the two arms of government headed by vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.