UK Government Reacts To SSS Siege At National Assembly

The British High Commission has reacted to
Tuesday’s development at the National
Assembly, saying it would only accept a
democratic process that recognises the rights of
Nigerians to participate in election process.
“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,” Joe Abuku, a
spokesperson for the UK Embassy in Abuja, said
in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday
afternoon.

The statement comes hours after Ben Murray-
Bruce, a senator from Bayelsa State, asked
that foreign sanctions be meted on those
involved in the siege at the parliament.

Mr Murray-Bruce accused senior officials of
the Buhari administration of being involved in
the blockading of the National Assembly by
masked officials of the State Security Service,
saying he would help ensure that their visas
and those of their families are revoked by
Western countries.

The National Assembly was taken over by SSS
operatives, supported by the police, earlier
Tuesday, amidst claims that there was an
attempt to forcibly remove Senate President
Bukola Saraki from office.

Scores of senators and members of the House
of Representatives were initially blocked from
entering into the National Assembly premises,
but all of them were later allowed to move in
after threatening to force their way in.

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The security operatives also blocked all other
staff members of the National Assemnly,
including the clerk of the parliament, as well
as journalists and other independent observers
of legislative process.

There was a protest by civil society groups to
force the security agencies to back down, but
they declined. All the lawmakers who entered
the premises were unable to conduct much
legislative process since the clerk and other
staff members were unavailable.

The development has been widely condemned by
opposition politicians, including Atiku Abubakar
and several state governors, who warned
against the use of security agents as repressive
tools against an independent arm of
government.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been
called on to act to check the excesses of
security agencies, responded by summoning
Lawal Daura, the head of SSS, and Inspector-
General Ibrahim’s Idris.

Mr Daura was summarily dismissed and asked
to hand over to the most-senior official behind
him, a move that has sent ripples through the
country’s political and security circles.

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