The National Assembly yesterday sought an end to what it described as incessant harassment of its members by the executive arm of government.
The lawmakers also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address what they described as selective fight against corruption.
Members of the National Assembly, while rising from a joint executive session, which lasted for about three hours, called on the president to caution his appointees against harassing members of the National Assembly.
The lawmakers however threatened to invoke legislative powers against the president in the event where he refuses to address the concerns raised.
Specifically, the lawmakers enjoined President Buhari to take responsibility for actions of his appointees and sanction those who carry out any act that would ridicule or endanger the country and its nascent democracy.
Apparently referring to the series of criminal investigations carried out against some lawmakers, the joint session passed a vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Kpotum-Idris.
The National Assembly, however, passed vote of confidence on Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
At the end of the closed-door session, which started at about 12:40pm, Senate President Saraki read a 12-item resolution.
The resolutions as read by Saraki are that “the Security Agencies must be given marching orders to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country and protect life and properties of Nigerians as this is the primary duty of any responsible government.
“The systematic harassment and humiliation by the executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including Legislators and Judiciary by the police and other security agencies must stop. There must be strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees.
“The President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those that carry out any act which will ridicule or endanger our country and democracy. The government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective and also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them.
“The sanctity of the National Assembly should be protected and preserved by the Federal Government of Nigeria by not interfering in its business and prosecuting those who invaded the Senate to seize the mace. National Assembly should liaise with International Communities through the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA, Parliament, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, US congress and UK Parliament to secure our democracy. Democratic elections must be competitive and inclusive by removing the present reign of fear and intimidation particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections.”
Saraki added that the National Assembly will work closely with Civil Society Organisations, Trade Unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect the country’s democracy.
He continued: The President must take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that we have advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel.
“Both chambers of the National Assembly hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly.
“We reaffirm our earlier resolution of vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police who does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerian and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the President and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative.
“Finally, the National Assembly will not hesitate to evoke its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions passed today.”
But a group of pro-Buhari lawmakers were opposed to the last item of resolutions reached by the joint session.
Some of them were nonchalant about the resolutions, with a few of them even walking out of the executive session.
Immediate past chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, and the Chief Whip of the House, Hon Alhassan Ado Doguwa, walked out of the meeting after about two hours and never returned until the meeting ended.
The member representing Kazaure/Roni/Gwiwa Constituency of federal constituency of Jigawa State, Hon Muhammed Gudaji Kazaure, who spoke to journalists immediately after the resolution was read, vowed that his group will frustrate the impeachment plot.
Kazaure who said the group of lawmakers under the auspices of Justice and Fairness group has 162 members, which according to him is enough to scuttle the impeachment plan.
He said, “We agree with all the resolutions, but I am against the last item, which states that the National Assembly will not hesitate to evoke its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions passed today.
“We are saying nobody will be impeached, just as we say Saraki will not be impeached, Dogara will not be impeached, so also, Buhari can never be impeached”.
Kazaure further noted that a number of lawmakers had objected to the language, even though the objections were not observed.
He stated: “What does it mean to evoke its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions? It is impeachment. Nobody will bring an impeachment motion to the floor of the House, it will never be allowed, we are waiting for the day and that day will be a whole day.
“All of the resolutions that we made today are good, because they talk about killings. However the security agencies want to do it, they must stop the killings”.
Kazaure who confirmed that some lawmakers are already collecting signature to impeach the president vowed to disrupt the process whenever it is introduced on the floor of the parliament.
APC Lawmakers Disagree
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Support Group of the Senate and House of Representatives alleged yesterday that the resolutions reached at the closed-door session were pre-determined.
The group also claimed that lawmakers who spoke at the executive session are members of the PDP, while members of the APC declined joining the discussion to avoid rowdiness and open confrontation.
The group, in a statement signed by Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, noted that most of the issues raised at the joint session were personal and should not attract reaction from the National Assembly as an institution.
He alleged that a known ally of the Senate President from Kwara State, Hon Rasak Atunwa, drafted what was adopted as the resolution and without voting against standard parliamentary practice.
The group however commended Speaker Yakubu Dogara for exercising restraint during the meeting.
The statement reads: “It is commendable that the Speaker tactically refused to make any comment at the session even after the Senate President took time to explain the issues which are mostly personal.
“Most of the issues raised concerning the fight against corruption, insecurity and the rule of law have been severally discussed in the Senate and the House and various resolutions passed.
“That we commend the efforts of Mr President in the fight against corruption, tackling of insecurity challenges and respect for rule of law and democratic institutions. Mr President is known for his non-interference policy.”
“That every Senator or Member of House who has corruption or criminal allegation against him or her should clear his or her name without dragging the entire institution of the National Assembly into the matter.
The group also challenged the National Assembly members to address political intolerance within the parliament.
It stated: “That the National Assembly should as well look inward and address the issue of suffocating Senators and members with dissenting or contrary opinion through coercion or extra legal means.
“The PDP should recall how it members in the 7th Assembly sat comfortably in the chamber and watched a sitting Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, locked out of the National Assembly and all his security personnel withdrawn while APC members had to scale the fence to gain entrance into the National Assembly.”
NASS Resolution On PMB Has Vindicated Us- PDP
Reacting to the resolutions made by the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said they are a vindication of its stance on the Buhari administration.
The PDP further commended the members of the National Assembly for their patriotism and courage in unanimously standing up for democracy, rule of law, national stability and cohesion at this trying time.
National publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “Nigerians would recall that the PDP had consistently pointed to the misrule of the Buhari presidency, as well as the unrelenting violations of our constitution, unprecedented executive highhandedness, abuse of the rights of citizens and the erosion of all known democratic norms under this administration.
“These are in addition to the foisting of siege mentality on Nigerians as well as presidential aloofness to important issues of state thereby resulting in the escalation violence, killings and daily bloodlettings in our country”.
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