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BREAKING: Saraki addresses World Press Conference, says Nigerians won’t accept ‘gangsterism’

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Senate President Bukola Saraki is currently addressing a World Press Conference .Saraki had led Principal Officers of the National Assembly to the conference .

He condemned the siege laid by the security operatives of the Department of State Services on the National Assembly on Wednesday , saying it ’ s “ an assault on democracy . ”

He said , “ It is a matter of record that yesterday , lawmakers and staff of the National Assembly were prevented from entering the National Assembly Complex by heavily armed security agents of the Department of State Services ( DSS) . All entries to the Complex were blocked . ”

“ The National Assembly , the seat of democracy in Nigeria , was under lockdown . Senators and Members of the House of Representatives were prevented from gaining access . ”

“ The ensuing standoff was a show of shame that played itself out over several hours in full view of the country .

“ In no circumstances should this have happened . And we as a nation reaped the bitter fruits instantaneously , as evident in media images relayed around the world , images that shame us as a democratic nation.

“ The siege was also an act of cowardice by those seeking to carry out an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate in flagrant disregard of the law . ”

He commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for rising up to the occasion.

Continuing , Saraki said , “ People who seek control at all costs , by whatever means , never minding the injury to democratic norms . I have to say that this is not about me – Abubakar Bukola Saraki — as an individual . It is not about Ike Ekweremadu , nor is it about Yakubu Dogara.

“ I am speaking for my colleagues when I say that this is about the soul of Nigeria , what we represent as a country , and our standing in the comity of nations . This is a country where so much is expected of us .

“ So many rungs of the ladder that we are supposed to have ascended as a nation . Instead we are wallowing in impunity and illegal show of force , all of which retard our progress . This is most disheartening. I don’ t get any joy in saying ‘ I said so. ’ I don’ t . ”

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“ However , some of you may recall that about two years ago , I stated that there was a government within this government, to a purpose that was not in the interest of what the people voted for.

“ I said it then , and now we are beginning to see the manifestations of that government within a government.

“ It beats one ’ s imagination how the head of an agency could have authorised the brazen assault on the legislature that we saw yesterday . ”

“ Despite the threat to our lives , we shall continue to fight impunity and injustice in this country . Happily, by the actions that Nigerians took yesterday , they demonstrated our strong resolve as a nation not to give ground to oppression.

“ The legislature , more than any other institution in this country , more than any other arm of govt . represents the will of the people . We are elected by the people , & an assault on the legislature is an assault on the people of Nigeria . ”

“ The forcible shutdown of the legislature was an unconscionable assault on a national institution , and thanks to all your efforts , the aggressors have been put to shame.

“ The resistance mounted by staff of the National Assembly , my colleagues in both chambers and Civil Society Organisations ( CSOs) who refused to leave the entrance of this Complex until the siege was broken, strengthens my faith in the people of this country .

“ The rain fell, the sun rose , but Nigerians stood their ground in defence of democracy . With the strength of will demonstrated by everyone against unwarranted and unconstitutional militaristic might , the siege could not stand .

“ By this , we have shown that Nigerians can resist government within government in whatever guise , and this is humbling for me .

“ Those who sought to attack the National Assembly under my leadership for their selfish ends have only affirmed my belief in this country .

“ They attempted to execute an illegal impeachment of the leadership of the Senate without the backing of the law , but they faltered .

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“ I am confident that , together, we shall always defeat acts of unconstitutionality .

“ The rule of law shall always prevail .

“ I thank the thousands who monitored the situation on radio, television and social media , voicing their outrage at the siege, thereby sending a clear message to those that hatched the plot that the Nigerian public would not buy this act of gangsterism using instruments of state such as the DSS .

“ I also thank the international community , particularly the European Union and the international press , for their prompt reactions to the invasion of the National Assembly .

“ CSOs and Socio – cultural groups were emphatic in their statements during the crisis , and we very much appreciate their vigilance . Among the many that come up for special mention , I believe that Honourable Boma Goodhead , a member of the House of Representatives , stands out .

“ She looked a masked security operative in the eye and dared him to shoot . She let it be known that Nigerians would not stand for the barricade at the National Assembly , that we would not be cowed .

“ It was another pointer to what is possible in this country when women take their place in leadership.

“ I applaud all who kicked against the atrocity and who stood firm until sanity prevailed .

“ I am proud of how everyone conducted themselves in what was no doubt a tense standoff .

“ The principled stance and defiant reactions to the ugly incident proved crucial to the failure of the plot.

“ This is what we have been saying about the power of the people . The role of the people in defending democracy is paramount .

“ I thank the Acting President , Prof . Yemi Osinbajo , for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday . His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence .

“ It sent a powerful message – that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy . ”

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