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Nigerian government intolerant of opposition, says Saraki


Senate President Bukola Saraki PHOTO: TWITTER/ NIGERIAN SENATE

Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki Wednesday accused the Nigerian government of intolerance of opposition, more than 24 hours after masked armed operatives of the country’s secret service prevented lawmakers from entering the National Assembly.

The operatives said they acted on the “orders from above”. But the Nigerian government denied having prior knowledge of the blockade.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is acting for President Muhammadu Buhari currently on a 10-day holiday in the United Kingdom immediately sacked the boss of the Department of State services Lawal Daura and replaced him with Mathew Seiyefa.

I must say that when we fought for Change, we could not have envisaged a scenario such as unfolded yesterday – an atmosphere where people cannot tolerate dissent or mere differences of opinion as to the future of our dear country,” Saraki told a press conference on Wednesday.

Saraki, who himself suffered a similar fate three weeks when policemen laid a siege to his residence in Abuja, insisted the government was behind the Tuesday incident.


He, however, thumbed up Osinbajo for firing Daura, which made the security operatives agents leave the assembly complex. He said the move by the Osinbajo “went a long way towards restoring confidence”.

Regardless, the Senate President insisted that the damage control so far did not address the question of how “this atrocity happened in the first place.”

The ruling All Progressives Congress earlier on Wednesday said the presence of the DSS operatives was to prevent the breakdown of order.

The party said its “investigation” revealed that Senate President Bukola Saraki was behind the invasion.

APC accused Saraki, who only defected from the ruling party late July, of mobilising thugs to the National Assembly to stop his purported impeachment.

“Following Tuesday’s incident at the National Assembly, our investigations have now uncovered the sinister plot hatched by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to foment violence in the legislative chamber all in a bid to stop his impeachment,” APC spokesman Yekini Nabena said in a statement.

“Why did the Senate President mobilise thugs to the National Assembly who almost lynched Hon. E.J. Agbonayinma, the only APC federal lawmaker present but for the timely intervention of security operatives.”

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