November 30, 2020

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National Assembly invasion: UK insists on rule of law

The British High Commission to Nigeria on Tuesday said it was monitoring the situation at the National Assembly and other political developments ahead of the 2019 general elections .

The Press and Public Affairs Officer at the high commission , Mr Joe Abuku , said this in a statement sent to The PUNCH.

The high commission said the British government would continue to support only the rule of law and democratic ethos .

The statement read , “ We are aware of media reports of a situation at the National Assembly this morning . We are closely monitoring the situation and other political developments in Nigeria . The United Kingdom supports a process whereby the people of Nigeria can exercise their democratic right to vote and be voted for . We favour a free, fair , credible and peaceful process and the independence of institutions , which allow for that . ”

In June , the British High Commissioner , Mr Paul Arkwright, had urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , the Independent National Electoral Commission and other agencies of government to remain neutral before, during and after the general elections .

Arkwright had said democracy could only thrive when agencies of government were independent and all parties were given a level playing field.

Meanwhile, the South- West socio – cultural group , Afenifere , as well as the civil society , Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and Centre for Anti -Corruption and Open Leadership, condemned the siege to the National Assembly by the Department of State Services ’ operatives. They demanded that the sacked Director – General , Lawal Daura, must face prosecution .

The Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, stated this in an interview on the siege to the National Assembly chambers by DSS operatives .

He said , “What happened at the National Assembly was a coup d’ état . The sacked DSS DG must have had some collaborators . Besides his sacking , he must face a treason trial. He must be prosecuted . It is when he is tried that Nigerians will know that he truly acted on his own as the Presidency is claiming .

“The invasion of our legislative chambers by security men portrays our country as a laughing stock . It is a barbaric act that must not be condoned in a democracy .

“ The sacking of the DSS DG should not be the only action . If the Presidency is saying the DG acted without their consent, it means we have a deregulated Presidency.

“Or did that order come from London? Either way , there is trouble in the land. It is hard to believe that the DSS will just mobilise on a morning and go to shut down completely another arm of the government . ”

Meanwhile, the CDHR President , Malachy Ugwummadu , said , “ This is one of such incidents which have weakened our democratisation system . Democracy is rooted in the recognition of the separation of powers. This incident is condemnable and is one of the excesses of security agencies in this government. ”

Also, the CACOL Director , Debo Adeniran, said , “ The invasion is barbaric and against democratic principles . But the body language of the Presidency is encouraging and also adds to the general condemnation of that action by the DSS . ”

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