Matters Arising from the DSS Blockade of National Assembly


    Chuks Okocha

    It is no longer news that the former Director-General of the Department of Security Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, authorised the blockade of the National Assembly ostensibly to pave way for the removal of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki as Senate president. The issue that ought to be bothering our minds is, did Daura unilaterally take the decision to shut the gates of the National Assembly or he is just being made the fall guy? It is commendable that the acting president, Prof. Yemi Oshibajo, acted swiftly to save the already battered image of the President Muhammadu Buhari government. But the real issues should be, why did it happen, and what are the motives behind it? Finding answers to these questions is pertinent to ensure that such shenanigans never happen again.

    The drama that took place that fateful Tuesday was made for a purpose, as there is usually no smoke without fire. How come the pictures and narratives that are being pushed out to Nigerians are quite at variance with all premises to the main issue at hand?

    In the first place, what are the lines of communication between the DSS and the Commander-in-Chief? Does the DSS boss take unilateral decisions without the consent of the Commander-in-Chief? If that has been the case, has there been any sanction? As the president went on a 10-day break and handed over to the vice president, as the constitution demands, was it mandatory that the country’s chief spy officer should be knowledgeable enough to know that he is also statutorily expected to maintain the same order of communication? Sacking Daura is good but he should not be made the fall guy.

    In this case, there are some pertinent questions that need to be addressed, as it would greatly help in getting to the root of this coup against the main institution that gives democracy a meaning in Nigeria. Key among these questions is, how come that during the entire period of this hi-tech drama no single senator from the All Progressives Congress (APC) was seen near the National Assembly? Yet, the distinguished senators of the APC were earshot of the gate of the National Assembly. It was reported that they were camped at a nearby five-star hotel with a standby bus, waiting to be evacuated to the same National Assembly when the coast was clear, for a mission.

    Yet, the senators never bothered to visit the National Assembly, despite the news of the blockade. They behaved like Emperor Nero who was dinning and winning when Rome was on fire. Or like the ostrich that put its head under the fire. This is the billion naira question that Nigerians should ask the APC senators.

    Another question that needs to be asked is, what meeting was the sacked boss of the DSS holding with the National Leader of APC and some APC senators in the wee hours of Tuesday in Abuja? I leave you to get the answers. If late night meetings of this nature could hold near the National Assembly, what stopped either of them from peeping through to know what was happening at the National Assembly? Or are they claiming that they were not aware of the news of the blockade?

    Still on the questions that bother the mind, but not directly related to the issues at hand. When the Inspector General of Police deployed his men to block the senate president’s residence and convoy, and the deputy senate president’s residence, was it the same motive that equally prompted the IGP?

    Another question that needs to be addressed is the story about the DG of the SSS allegedly stopping the Clerk of the National Assembly from going on leave on Friday last week and insisting he must be in the country till Tuesday evening so he can swear in a new SP on Tuesday. For what purpose did the sacked boss of the DSS insist that the Clerk of the National Assembly should not go on leave when the Parliament was on break?

    When the IGP and his men were shouting that Saraki must appear to answer questions on the Offa robbery, was it the senate president that instigated the DPP’s report? Was it Saraki that instigated the meeting by Tinubu, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, Sen. Omo Agege, and Sen. Ndume, who held a separate meeting outside of the APC caucus meeting by 5am that Tuesday morning? Was it Saraki that made Buhari not to have an idea or ask about the security report on his nominee for EFCC chairman?

    When the police blocked the Benue State House of Assembly, and only allowed eight out of the 30 lawmakers that were loyal to the ruling party to enter — in order to commence impeachment proceedings against the governor – was that Saraki’s fault too? Did he call up his dear friend, IGP Idris, to ensure that the premises of the Assembly were blocked in order to embarrass Governor Ortom, who recently defected with him?

    In October 2016, when the DSS raided the homes of judges in the middle of the night, President Buhari did not say anything. Vice President Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former Attorney General of Lagos State — who should have known better — did not say anything.

    When officers of the Nigerian Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) kill, assault, harass and terrorise Nigerians across the country everyday, Buhari does not say anything. Osinbajo, who should be an advocate for human rights, does not say anything. Maybe it is because Saraki sends SARS to beat up Nigerians every single day.

    All these questions begging for answers confirm that the blockade was planned long ago and not in response to any intelligence as to breach of security.

    · Okocha writes from Abuja.