The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned the Presidency and the Nigeria Police not to do anything capable of threatening the survival of democracy in Nigeria.
Reacting to the invasion of the official residences of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, CAN warned the presidency to desist from using the Nigeria Police to pull down democratic institutions built at a great price, which includes, but not limited to, loss of lives and imprisonment of many patriots in the past.
The CAN President, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, in a statement on Tuesday expressed concern over the poor handling of police’s invitation to the Senate President over the infamous Offa robbery saga that led to the death of no fewer than 30 people, apart from a reported plan by the EFCC to arrest Ekweremadu over alleged money laundering.
“The Christian umbrella body condemns in strong terms the way and manner the Police were deployed in subjecting the leadership of the National Assembly to needless embarrassment and harassment. The ongoing action of the Police is a siege against democracy.
”CAN notes with every sense of responsibility that the only difference between democracy and dictatorship is the presence or absence of the National Assembly. As stakeholders in the survival of the Nigerian democracy, we have no choice but to speak out against unfolding political imbroglio that is capable of not portraying in good standing in the comity of nations,” Ayokunle said in the statement signed by his spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji.
He reminded the Police that once a suspect has been invited to any of its offices, the best international practice is to exercise patience until the invitee fails to honour such an invitation. He expressed shock at the aborted moves by the Police to stop both the Senate President and his deputy, from attending Tuesday’s proceedings.
“We urge the Presidency to avoid any action that could threaten the democracy of our nation. The Nigeria Police are supposed to be neutral in order to ensure the survival of democracy. We call on both leadership of the National Assembly and the Presidency to stop acting in a manner that constitutes international disgrace and embarrassment. It is needless to remind the legislative and executive arms of government to work in synergy for the interest of our nation’s democracy.
“CAN calls on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other professional bodies, like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), among others, to remain vigilant in rescuing democracy from forces that are hell-bent in derailing it,” he added.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has described the protracted rancorous relationship between the legislative arm of government and the executive as a threat to democracy.
The CNPP in a statement jointly signed by its National Chairman, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and the Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu urged all Nigerian security agencies to stop meddling in the political affairs of the country and allow democratic forces to freely operate like in every other democracy.
“The barricade of the residence of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and that of the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu is the culmination of the altercation between the executive and the legislative arms of government in the country,” the statement said.
It said, “Following truncated impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari at the Senate, the constant intimidation of lawmakers by the agents of the executive is the culmination of the ongoing distrust between the two arms of government. No democracy will survive in an atmosphere of unbridled interference by the executive in the affairs of the legislative chambers, using the coercive forces at its disposal to muzzle dissenting voices and distort free flow of democratic forces and freedom to associate.
“The constitution of Nigeria, which both the executive and legislative members swore to uphold guarantees freedom of association and right to hold opinion and it will be detrimental to the deepening of our democracy for security agencies to deny any Nigerian these rights, rather all security forces are to ensure that these rights are respected.”
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