N’Assembly Threatens Buhari over Persecution of Opponents, Insecurity, Other Issues

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• PDP lawmakers allegedly collate signatures to impeach president, loyalists vow to block attempt

• Resolutions not endorsed by APC members, says group
• Supporters urge Saraki to declare presidential ambition

Deji Elumoye, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and James Emejo in Abuja

The National Assembly Monday threatened President Muhammadu Buhari with impeachment if he fails to take urgent steps to address the myriad of problems facing the nation.

The National Assembly, which emerged from a rare two-hour joint executive session, listed the problems to include rising unemployment, poverty, insecurity, corruption, election rigging, harassment and humiliation of perceived opponents, and violation of the rule of law.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who read the 12-point resolution reached at the emergency session, said the meeting addressed the problems facing the nation and directed the president to tackle the problems headlong.

According to the resolution, the National Assembly will not hesitate to evoke its constitutional powers against the Executive if nothing was done to address the resolutions including the persistent harassment and humiliation of perceived enemies of the president.

On the worrisome security situation in the country, the National Assembly said the security agencies must be given marching orders by the Executive to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians “and protect lives and properties of Nigerians as these are the primary duties of any responsible government”.

The legislature also canvassed for the cessation of systemic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including legislators and the judiciary by the police and other security agencies.

Other resolutions of the National Assembly included: “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.

“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 by not interfering in its business while those who invaded the Senate to seize the mace should be prosecuted.

“National Assembly is to liaise with the international community through the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA Parliament, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, U.S. Congress and UK Parliament to secure the nation’s 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.

“National Assembly is to work closely with civil society organisations, trade unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect democracy.

“The president must take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria, especially now that we have the advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel.”

The legislature also passed a vote of confidence on Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and the entire leadership of the National Assembly.

It also reaffirmed its earlier resolution of a vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, saying he “does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerians and consistent framing of perceived political opponents of the president and outright disregard for constitutional authority”.

THISDAY further gathered that during the joint executive session, as the vote of confidence was being passed on Saraki, the lawmakers gave the Senate President a standing ovation and asked him to declare his presidential ambition.

The source revealed that the clamour by lawmakers for Saraki to contest for the presidency started when one senator stood up and said: “Enough of this harassment by the Executive.”

The senator reportedly urged Saraki to come out and contest the presidential election, saying it was no longer a matter of choice but compulsion, occasioned by the current political situation in the country.

The source said it was at this juncture that the lawmakers present gave Saraki a standing ovation and urged him to declare his interest in the presidential contest.

According to one lawmaker who preferred to remain unnamed, “The session reportedly agreed that it was high time Saraki declared his presidential interest because he is the kind of leader Nigeria needs at this crucial period.”

Also, the lawmakers saw the need for government to improve the welfare of Nigerians in view of the fact that oil prices had risen to nearly $80 per barrel.

They agreed that this was crucial especially in the build-up to the 2019 general election as a way to assuage the pains Nigerians are passing through and to avoid a backlash at the polls.

Before the joint executive session, the Senate and House at separate executive sessions met for over an hour to take positions on the state of the nation, which they eventually harmonised at the joint session later yesterday.

However, Buhari loyalists such as Senators Adamu Abdullahi (APC, Nasarawa West) and Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) failed to join other senators at the joint session.

While Abdullahi stormed out of the National Assembly complex, Marafa proceeded to the public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).