In the wake of the arrest by the police of Senator Dino Melaye, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decried what it described as “relentless assault” against the Senate. The party made the condemnation in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Tuesday.
In what appeared to be a sweeping generalisation, Ologbondiyan claimed the leadership of the Senate and elected senators were being harassed, arrested, detained and even arraigned on trumped-up charges for holding opinion divergent to that of the executive arm. He claimed that the harassment started since the emergence of the current leadership of the Senate outside the preference of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the executive arm.
The party spokesman added that the legislative arm and the senators who showed support for the leadership were also being hounded and harassed. “The world has been watching with horror since it started with the arraignment of Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and other senators on trumped-up charges as well as attempts to rope in Ekweremadu on charges related to treason. “Today, we are witnessing the harassment and arrest of Sen. Dino Melaye, who is known for his support for the Senate leadership and his criticisms of the excesses of the executive arm.
“Currently, Senators Aliyu Wamakko, Rabiu Kwakwanso and Danjuma Goje are all being harassed for holding opinions that do not suit the whims and caprices of the executive. “Only last week, the security architecture in the National Assembly was compromised, paving the way for the invasion of the Senate chambers by strangers who disrupted proceedings, harassed and threatened our lawmakers and forcefully took away the mace.”
PDP alleged that the assault was aimed at silencing strong dissenting voices, emasculate the legislature and prevent it from playing its constitutional duties of checking the excesses and impunity of the executive arm. He urged Nigerians to look beyond partisan sentiments and join in condemning the attack on the institution of the legislature, “without which we cannot be a democratic nation”. The PDP appealed to the lawmakers not to allow their spirits to be dampened or buckle to intimidation. “They must continue in their pursuit of their oath of office and allegiance and in their onerous goal of making laws for the good governance of our nation.”