The member representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, has said that members of the House of Representatives that climbed over the gate of the of Assembly Complex so as to gain entry after been locked out by the police, deserve national honours.
Abe explained that the lawmakers deserved to be congratulated for being able to defend the nation’s democracy by scaling the fence when security operatives locked the gates and shot teargas at them.
Abe, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), made this remark on Saturday at the grand finale of the this year’s Yoruba Week and formal launching of a N500 million Yoruba House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
According to the senator, it was wrong for some spin doctors to describe the action of the House of Representatives’ members as a national embarrassment.
Describing the lawmakers as true defenders of the independence of the legislature, Abe stated that he would have joined the lawmakers to scale the fence, even as he maintained that the legislators acted honourably in the defence of the nation’s democracy.
“People were talking about lawmakers who scaled the fence. I want to say that those lawmakers are the true defenders of the independence of the legislature. They should be given national awards for what they did.
“If as elected representatives of the Nigerian people, we go to our place of work and people have brought force from outside to prevent your representatives from sitting and they said no power can stop them from sitting on your behalf, if they have to scale the fence, they will scale it and they did so that they could meet to discuss the problems of Nigeria. How can anybody say they have not acted honourably?
“Spin doctors have appeared on the scene to try to colour what is a national embarrassment to this nation. You remember that similar thing like that was happening here in Rivers State; a reign of impunity and I almost lost my life.
“If you remember then, I wrote a letter then to Senator David Mark, the President of the Senate to say that, today, it is Senator Abe, nobody is saying anything. Tomorrow, it may well be Senator Mark. And as you can see, all of us were tear-gassed right inside the National Assembly complex”, Abe said.
Quoting the words of an American politician, Barry Goldwater, who once said, ‘Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue and extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice’, Abe said: “So, if they (lawmakers) acted extremely to defend the liberty of the Nigerian people, they should be congratulated and honoured for what they did”.
The senator argued that the lawmakers would have set a precedence that any power could stop the national legislature from sitting if they had done otherwise during last week’s occupation of the National Assembly by security operatives.
According to Abe, “If they had gone back, then they would have created the history that any power can stop the national legislature from sitting. They acted in the defence of the Nigerian people.
“So, I want to thank them and congratulate them. The only thing that I was telling my son is that I felt very sad that I didn’t come there in time to join them to climb the fence. I would have climbed the gate with them”.