Senate vows to resist harassment, intimidation

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the upper legislative chamber would not spare any effort to shield its member from threats and harassment.

He made the declaration  following  an assassination attempt on Dino Melaye, the raid on the home of Danjuma Goje, both serving lawmakers in the eighth National Assembly as well as alleged plot to “mass arrest” members of the Red Chamber.
He spoke during the inauguration of the Ad-Hoc Committee investigating the attempted assassination on Melaye. 
Saraki, who was represented by  Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, said investigation must be fully done by the committee, to protect members of the National Assembly against infringement and threats. 
“The 1999 Constitution guarantees every Nigerian the right to life. Like every Nigerian, a Senator or member of the Assembly deserves to be protected against infringement, threat and harassment. 
“The reported incidence in Kogi State where armed assassins invaded the house of a sitting senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the intention of taking his life is frightening and must be fully investigated.
“This is to ensure that no senator or member of the Legislature is put in a position where he or she will feel his life is threatened in such a manner as to affect his judgment and thereby weaken his moral compass and ability to act without fear or favour. 
“The investigation will seek to unearth the remote and immediate issues connected with, and leading to the ugly incident.”
Saraki, therefore, called on members of the committee to discharge the task with great sense of responsibility, diligence and care.

In his welcome speech, Chairman of the Committee, Jibrin Barau, said though “the circumstances surrounding these two unfortunate (Dino and Goje) incidents are still unclear,” the panel would probe deeply into the matter so as to report appropriately to the Senate.

He assured that the committee in carrying out its mandate, would do so with the utmost sense of duty, bearing in mind the seriousness of the assignments.

Saraki tough stand came in the wake of  the alarm by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu,  on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday  of plots to invade his country home in Enugu and other apartments, under the guise of searching for looted funds.

Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the Senate  alleged plans by those it described as members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabal, to intimidate and arrest former governors who are critical of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government.

Spokesman of the  PDP caucus, Enyinnaya Abaribe, decried the clamp down on members of the opposition who have spoken out against President Buhari.

Ekweremadu who read a letter, reportedly written to him by an unnamed Nigerian, informing him of plan by the Economic and Financial crimew Commission (EFCC) , said the anti-graft agency also planned to ‘plant’ ammunition in his apartment during the raid.

He said the move was to force him out of office and give the impression that he is a corrupt politician, unfit to hold any public office.

He said plans had also been perfected by the EFCC to use groups to protest in major cities across the country, calling for his resignation and prosecution, a charge the EFCC said was a product of Ekweremadu’s fertile imagination.
Reading the letter, Ekweremadu said:..”cabals in the presidency have mandated the EFCC chairman to carry out this evil operation within two weeks. 
“On the 6th of May, 2017. That is between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the EFCC alongside with local and international media, both print and TV, will raid an apartment under the guise of whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government. 
“They will come with a search warrant already obtained from a Magistrate Court to search an apartment alleged to be one of your guest houses in Enugu, the state capital or any available apartment in your senatorial district that will serve this evil purpose. 
“EFCC is claiming to have received a tip-off from a whistle-blower in your state alerting the agency of a large huge amount of money of different currencies in the said apartment belonging to you, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They will say that the money is a proceed which is likely to be illegally obtained and acquired, which constitute abuse of office and corruption.”

But the anti-graft agency in a statement by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the alleged plot by EFCC to raid Ekweremadu’s house on May 6 2017, existed only in his fertile imagination.