Security agents reportedly lay siege on Saraki, Ekweremadu’s residences
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has invited Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, for questioning.
A July 24 letter to Mr Ekweremadu said he was under investigation for alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and money landing.
Mr Ekweremadu had been under investigation by the EFCC for allegedly owning questionable properties abroad. He was also arraigned for allegedly forging Senate standing rules to pave way for the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate President in June 2015. The charges on alleged forgery were later dropped by the federal government.
The letter to Mr Ekweremadu, which was shared by Mr Saraki’s aides moments ago, came hours after EFCC operatives joined State Security Service officers to lay a siege to the home of the Deputy Senate President.
The siege was said to still be ongoing as at 11:30 a.m. at the Apo Legislative Quarters residence of the top lawmaker.
“This commission is investigating the above mentioned case in which your new feature prominently and the need to obtain certain clarification from you became imperative,” said the letter which was signed by the EFCC’s director of operations.
It added that the request is brought pursuant to Section 38 (1) of the EFCC Act.
Mr Saraki said on the floor of the Senate Tuesday that security agencies were being used by President Muhammadu Buhari to bully All Progressives Congress lawmakers who planned to abandon the ruling party in a mass defection today.
Mr Saraki was also briefly prevented from going out of his home by security agents, but reports said the siege was short lived after officers realised the top lawmaker had outsmarted them and escaped.
Mr Saraki later turned up at the Senate and convened plenary after 10 a.m. Within a few minutes after the Senate convened, about 15 senators were announced decamped from the APC, effectively making the party a minority at the upper chamber.
Mr Saraki himself did not announce his cross carpeting, although he is widely expected to make the move any day now, especially since the APC has become the minority party.
The police on Monday night summoned Mr Saraki to appear at 8:00 a.m. for questioning by homicide detectives over the killings that occurred during the April 5 robbery attack in Offa, Kwara State.
Mr Saraki appeared to have ignored the police invitation when he realised that Mr Ekweremadu, who should have presided over plenary in his absence, was being prevented from going out of his home.
Meanwhile, lawyers have reacted to the siege describing it as an executive overzealousness.
In his opinion, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Simon Ameh, said although the police have powers to invade the residence of a suspect, the siege at the home of Mr Ekweremadu and that of the Senate president can best be described as a step too far.
“That is really surprising.although I haven’t seen it, but I think they are being too harsh. Just overzealous.
“However the police are empowered to invade a place if they suspect things like armed robbery or fraud going on.
“It’s also based on their own opinion of what the situation it by law. That is what makes it subjective,” Mr Ameh said.
In another opinion, another senior advocate, Sébastien Hon, described the act as totally unacceptable.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the siege on the residences of the Senate President and his Deputy. Speculation is rife that this action by the security agencies is precipitate and is aimed at either preventing the planned mass defection at the Assembly or to illegally effect changes in the National Assembly leadership.
“This is descent to fascism. All lovers of democracy and our dear country must resist this, using all lawful means. Remember how the jugular of the Judiciary was aimed at, in the guise of fighting corruption. Now, after failing to blackmail the national assembly or failing to destroy it through smear campaign, its leadership is being targeted, using the same security forces who are being paid using tax payers’ money. This is totally unacceptable in any democratic set up. I condemn this in no mistaken terms.”