By Cecilia Ijuo
Chairmen and leaders of 45 political parties have raised alarm over alleged plans to impeach President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
They raised the alarm during a solidarity visit to Saraki, in Abuja on Thursday in connection to blockade of the National Assembly by security operatives on Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of the party leaders, National Chairman of National Unity Party (NUP), Mr Perry Opara, also alleged that they had privileged information of secret moves to freeze Saraki’s bank accounts.
Opara said the group had resolved not to watch democracy crashed by undemocratic forces in Nigeria.
He said: “we wish to alert Nigerians of a new plot by the same people, whose first shameful attempt to unlawfully overthrow the leadership of the National Assembly failed
“It was an attempt, which brought Nigeria to bad international limelight.
“We have it on good authority that a fresh plot is being hatched to make another attempt to cripple the parliament in the guise of impeachment.
“We wish to state that we, the chairmen and leaders of political parties, will not support or stand by to watch any unconstitutional impeachment of the leadership of the National Assembly.”
He condemned the invasion of the National Assembly, saying “we cannot sit by and watch our country slide into the Hobbesian state of anarchy, where life has become short, brutish and lawless.
“We unequivocally condemn the use of agencies of state to clampdown on the opposition and stifle democracy as demonstrated in the siege on the residences of the presiding officers of the National Assembly.
“Also, the siege on the National Assembly and the siege on the Benue State House of Assembly are pointers.’’
In his response, Saraki reiterated the resolve and commitment of the 8th Senate to continue to protect and defend the nation’s democracy.
He assured that the lawmakers would continue to play their role to ensure that the rule of law was followed and that human rights were respected in the country.
“I thank you for taking out time to be with us here today.
“Thank you for the solidarity message and we truly appreciate it as it encourages us to further do what we are doing to defend democracy in our great country.
“A big thank you to all Nigerians that stood with us and have come to support us here in the National Assembly because in supporting us, you are supporting our democracy.
“We will continue to defend it. We will continue to ensure that there is respect for the rule of law and that due process is followed across the country,” he said.
Saraki expressed optimism that the perpetrators of the recent siege on the National Assembly had learnt their lesson from the wide condemnation that continued to trail the anti-democratic actions of the security operatives.
“It is our hope that those anti-democratic forces have learnt their lesson in the last few days, listening to the voices of Nigerians – men, women, boys and girls, who stood firmly to reject their unconstitutional and anti-democratic action.
“Their voice is loud and clear and I believe we must respect it. We must respect those that have made sacrifices for us to be here.
“Some have paid the ultimate price and we must respect that and ensure that Nigeria, as a country, is a shining example for other democratic nations to emulate.
“We must not allow anything that will tarnish the image of this country and the democracy we have worked so hard to birth and sustain,” he said.
The 45 political parties represented were United Democratic Party (UDP), Rebuild Nigeria Party (RNP), People for Democratic Change (PDC) and Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN).
Others were Progressives Peoples Party(PPP), Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Young Democratic Party (YDP).
They also included Action Peoples Party (APP), National Interest Party (NIS), National Conscience Party (NCP), KOWA Party and Action Alliance (AA).