The Nigerian Senate has ordered an immediate end to the alleged siege on the Akwa Ibom State Assembly by the Nigerian Police, resolving that they should vacate the premises and not prevent the legislators to have access to the chambers.
The Senate resolution is coming after it was reported that the Nigerian Police and some alleged thugs prevented members from gaining access to the Akwa Ibom State Assembly complex for three days now, a situation that has led to a political tension in the State.
At the resumption of plenary on Thursday by Senators, the matter which was discussed on Wednesday was again brought up, as Senator Bassey Akpan from Akwa Ibom and representing Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial zone, cited Orders 42 & 52 and informs the Senate on the progress of the Akwa Ibom State Assembly, saying that security agents are still there.
He said no legislator has been allowed in or out. “We owe the people of Akwa Ibom this responsibility. It is not right.”
“An injury to Akwa Ibom State Assembly is an injury to Nigeria.”- Senator Bassey Akpan said.
Also, speaking on the issue, Senator Ahmad Kaita said:
“If the police vacate the premises, the legislators will go in there with their supporters and create fracas. The police are only there to promote peace. Let us, as a Senate, verify the facts of this issue before taking any action.” he said.
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, said:
“I think the discussion or the issue really is the problem of the police occupying the premises of the House of Assembly. The issue on whether the court gave power or did not give power to one side is also under discussion.”
“We have already permitted the Committee on Police, but I think the question is if the police have the right to occupy the premises and prevent the assembly from functioning.”
Senator Emmanuel Paulker also said:
“It is a very sudden situation in Akwa Ibom State. The police have to rise to see that this situation ends.”
What is paramount is for this Senate, without any political standing, should come together and ask the police to leave the House of Assembly. The police are biting more than they can chew.” he said.
Others who spoke on the Akwa Ibom Assembly siege, were, Senator Sam Anyanwu, Senator Bala Na’allah.
“The Committee on State should join the Committee on Police to look into this matter. This is Democracy and we should defend it.” Senator Sam Anyanwu.
“The Committee on Police has to look into this issue. At this very moment, we cannot act on speculation because we are yet to decipher the problem. Taking a decision now may not be in the best interest of the Senate as a whole.”- Senator Bala Na’allah.
On his part, -Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said:
“Our Democracy will be at risk if we keep putting such matters aside. It is Akwa Ibom State today, it may be another State tomorrow.”
Senate resolves to:
Ask that the police vacate the premises and not prevent the legislators to have access to the chambers.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki giving his final note about the resolution, described the matter as:
This is a very serious matter and I think it is a matter that is non-partisan. It is an action that is against the law that exists. Members of the parliament should have access.”
Police can provide law and order without necessarily preventing members of parliament to have access. The police have the responsibility to maintain law and order but at the same time, parliamentarians must have access to chambers. We cannot allow this to happen now or in the future.
A situation where the police can seal the chambers for more than 24 hours, is not something we should be a part of and not something we should support — irrespective of whoever is involved, I think we should stand for prosperity on the right side of history.
The police should vacate but still provide the necessary security.”
The parliamentarians should still have access to the chambers there, or in any part of the country where we have a parliament.” He said.