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Saturday, 10 June 2023 04:16

10th NASS leadership: International community frowns at plan to intimidate senators-elect with security agents

Four days to the election of principal officers in the National Assembly, members of the international community have frowned at a plot to use security agencies to intimidate senators-elect into supporting the zoning formula of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC had announced the zoning of Senate Presidency to South South and Deputy Senate President to North West, with Senators Godswill Akpabio and Barau Jubrin anointed for the positions respectively.

Senators-elect from the opposition political parties and their ultra-progressive colleagues in the APC have rejected this. Senators-elect Abdulaziz Yari (APC, Zamfara); Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia) and Osita Izunaso (APC, Imo) have continued to pursue their ambition to lead the Senate despite the zoning arrangement of the APC, with the combination of Yari and Kalu getting groundswell support.

Following the resistance by senators-elect, who canvass the independence of the legislature, both in the choice of leaders and discharge of duties, as well as the increase in support for aspirants outside the APC choices, sources revealed that some elements in the APC have hatched a plot to use security agencies to beat senators-elect into line.

It was gathered that part of the plot was to arrest Yari and some senators-elect ahead of the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 13, 2024. Yari had gone to court to secure an ex-parte order stopping his arrest. However, senators-elect have been warned that they could be in trouble if they vote against Akpabio and Barau.

Competent sources revealed that worried by the plan to intimate senators-elect, members of the international community have advised that lawmakers should be allowed to make their choice of leaders.

It was gathered that such countries as United States, United Kingdom and Israel have sent words that the independence of the Parliament should be respected.

An official of the United States embassy, who pleaded anonymity, said that although the country respects the sovereignty of Nigeria, it has advised that other arms of government should not interfere in the activities of the legislature.

He said that it was because of the US belief in the independence of the legislature that the country frowned at the insurrection at the Capitol in Washington DC when supporters of former President Donald Trump wanted to stop senators from ratifying the Electoral College votes, which gave President Joe Biden victory in the presidential election.

He said that just like the US institutions insisted that the use of insurrection to intimidate senators was wrong, the country would not support using fear or coercion to force Nigerian senators to support a particular candidate to lead the Senate.

A British diplomat said it would be unfortunate for anybody to attempt forcing lawmakers to do something against their will.

He said the choice of who leads the Parliament should be solely determined by lawmakers and not a political party or any other arm of government.

The National Assembly had suffered infraction in the past when operatives of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) stormed the Assembly complex to stop the sitting of the Senate.

This led to the removal of then DSS Director General, Lawal Daura by the acting president at that time and now former Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.


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