A group of civil society organisations on Thursday marched “against an attempt to kill the legislature,” while urging Nigerians to rise up in defence of democracy and condemn the latest affront against the National Assembly by “executive boy.”
The group at a rally held at the premises of the National Assembly to show discontent over the Executive/Legislature faceoff, warned that any attempt to “intimidate lawmakers and undermine the independence of the legislature,” will spell doom for democracy.
The statement was jointly signed by Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Co-Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), Jude Chijioke Ndukwe Convener, Movement for the Advancement of National Transformation (MANTRA) and Prince Deji Adeyanju, Convener, Concerned Nigerians.
The statement read: “Today, we march against the attempt to kill the legislature and undermine democracy in Nigeria as it has become highly imperative for us to be vigilant about the relentless insistence of anti-democratic forces to bring our highly cherished freedom and democracy to their knees.
“While we insist that the National Assembly (NASS) open its books for public scrutiny and ensure transparency in all its activities, make laws that would improve the lives of the people they represent and repeal any law that serves only the interests of a few highly placed citizens to the detriment of a majority of the people, we call on the executive and its agents to respect the rule of law guiding its working relationship with the National Assembly.
“It, therefore, becomes ours and the responsibility of every patriotic and democracy loving Nigerian to protect and defend our hard earned democracy against those trying to return us to the very dark days of the military era.
“We wish to state that Nigerians are very much aware that the current onslaught against the National Assembly is nothing but just a puerile battle for 2019, and nothing based on good governance or interest of the people!
“We can no longer afford the luxury of these unnecessary distractions. While the executive concentrates on attacking the national assembly, they left their guard open and allowed meningitis to avoidably claim hundreds of lives of Nigerians who depended on them for action against such diseases. This is absolutely unacceptable!
“This unholy attempt to kill our legislature must stop now!
“Need we remind all those working to undermine the legislative arm of government that this arm is the bastion of democracy and the pedestal on which every democracy, whether presidential, parliamentary or any other form of democratic government stands, and that any attempt to weaken it is an attempt to subvert democracy?
“No one should attempt to kill the national assembly simply because they do not like the faces of one or two persons there or simply because of the fact that they are doing their job. Doing so would just be like asking to kill the judiciary for freeing, discharging and acquitting Chief Mike Ozekhome, Elder Godsday Orubebe, Justice Adeniyi Ademola and others in quick succession.
“We will therefore not be surprised if the Sagays, Falanas and other cronies of the executive arm start to cast aspersions on the judges and call for mass actions against the judiciary for doing their job.
“Nigerians must defend the institutions of democracy!
“Instead of killing the legislature, let us merge Aso Rock with NASS with a view to returning the country to the more cost-effective Parliamentary System of government which we once practiced as a nation at independence and which would also still better serve the interest of the people.
“Our message today is simple: #Don’t Kill NASS,” the statement concluded.