PDP alleges plot to detain, remove Ekweremadu
•APC denies claim
Citing arbitrariness, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday disclosed that the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has been invited by the police for questioning and possible detention over an undisclosed crime today.
The party further alleged that there was a master plot by leaders of the All Progressives’ Congress(APC) to link Ekweremadu to series of charges and get him detained to pave way for his eventual removal from office as Deputy Senate President.
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it has nothing to do with the reported police’s invitation of Ekweremadu, as alleged by the PDP in a statement.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it neither wrote a petition to the police nor is it aware that any petition was written against the Deputy Senate President.
Addressing journalists at the PDP national Secretariat in Abuja, the party’s national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, also alleged that there plots to compromise Ekweremadu’s security adding that his life was being threatened.
He stated: “since President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that Senator Ekweremadu’s election was ‘unacceptable’ to his party, the Deputy Senate President, who can only be removed by the Senate has come under threats and intense pressure from APC leaders to resign and allow a senator from the ruling party to take his position.
However, having failed to get him to resign, the APC has now engaged in heinous plots to force him out of office, a design, which totally negates the independence of the legislature and the spirit and letters of the constitution of Nigeria.
“Apparently to ensure that the agenda is given an official stamp, the Inspector General of Police, acting on instructions has invited the Deputy Senate President with a view to arresting him over phantom charges as a build up to incarcerate him, create a vacuum in the Senate and pave way for the imposition of APC preferred senator to take over his position.
“We are aware that some APC senators opposed to the emergence of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively met last week and concocted a petition accusing the Deputy Senate President of altering the Senate Rules on the process of election of the Presiding Officers, upon which the police via a letter dated July 1, 2015 and signed by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of criminal investigation at the Force Headquarters has invited him to appear today where he will be detained and put under pressure”.
On the threat to the life of Ekweremadu, and many other PDP leaders, Metuh said: “The PDP hereby states and in very clear terms too that the government and APC leaders should be held responsible should any harm come upon the Deputy Senate President or any of our party leaders for that matter. We state this because information available to us indicates that there are also plans to compromise security around the Deputy Senate President to make him vulnerable and open for sponsored violent attacks.
We do hope that the era of political assassination is not about to return to Nigeria and that our nation will not descent into a draconian regime where a strike force is created to hunt key opposition figures.
And rising in strong defence of Ekweremadu, the PDP said: “apart from the fact that the Nigerian Constitution clearly guarantees the two chambers of the National Assembly the powers to regulate their proceedings without external interferences, we note that the petition by this group of senators who enjoy the sympathy of some APC leaders lacks merit as Senator Ekweremadu or any other senator-elect prior to the inauguration of the Senate and the election of presiding officers, could not have been involved in the process of producing the 2015 Standing Rules of the Senate which was strictly done by the bureaucracy under the Clerk to the National Assembly.”
“Furthermore, Senator Ekweremadu was not in any way involved in the process other than being nominated for the position of the Deputy Senate President and could not have been privy to the secret ballot procedure adopted by the National Assembly bureaucracy, which has been widely adjudged as transparent and credible.”
The APC added: ‘’however, if, as the PDP claims, the petition concerns alleged altering of the Senate’s Standing Rules on the process of electing Presiding Officers, that is a clear case of forgery which the police have a duty to investigate. Questioning the right of the police to carry out their duties in this regard amounts to intimidating the security agency.”
APC said if indeed there is a petition against Ekweremadu, he should gladly heed the invitation by the police so he can clear his name, adding that no one is above the law.