The United Progressive Party (UPP) Friday asked the Senate to blackmailing the Executive arm of government in order to obtain some form of soft landing for its principal officers over their current trial for alleged forgery of the Senate standing rules.
In a statement signed by the National Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, the party said that the leaders of the Senate should subject themselves to the judicial process with regard to the on-going trial of some top Officers of the Senate on forgery accusation.
The party describes as satanic, subversive and dangerous, the threats by the lawmakers to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari for unspecified impeachable offences, asking them to completely erasing such thoughts from their mind.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to some threats emanating from some persons in the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for unspecified impeachable offences.
“We wish to state unequivocally that such thoughts at this point in time are satanic, subversive and dangerous. It should be erased completely from the minds of those contemplating such move.
“Any such act of vengeance will be most unpopular, unpatriotic and condemnable. All hands must be on deck to salvage our country from its present state of economic downturn, excruciating poverty and security challenges.
“In the spirit of separation of powers as clearly defined in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended, it behoves the National Assembly and its leadership to submit themselves to the judicial process with regard to the on-going trial of some top Officers of the Senate on forgery accusation.
“It must not be seen that the National Assembly is resorting to the blackmail of the Executive arm of government in order to achieve any form of soft-landing for its Officers who are already facing trial.”
Okorie also condemned calls for immunity for principal officers of the National Assembly, pointing out that such ad fate, especially at a time when Nigerians are canvassing the removal of immunity clause from the constitution.
He said: “We hold the view that it is absolutely in bad fate for some of our legislators to propose to seek to include in the on-going amendment of the Constitution of the country, provision for the immunity of principal officers of the National Assembly.
“It is the general position of majority of Nigerians that the immunity provision as currently stated in the 1999 Constitution as amended, should be amended to remove criminal proceedings in the immunity clause, such that the President, the Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors will not be immuned from criminal proceedings when such offences are committed by any of them.
“This feeling of most Nigerians is as a result of the impunity, recklessness, corruption and the insensitive conduct of majority of those who are protected by the immunity clause.
“It is therefore disturbing that some of our elected legislators wish to add the principal officers of the National Assembly to the long list of those acting with impunity and polluting our democracy.
“More disturbing is the fact that each time there is effort to amend the Nigerian Constitution a proposed obnoxious provision rears its head to scuttle the entire exercise especially after huge scarce public resources had been expended in the process of constitutional amendment.
“We remember with sadness how the attempt to include a provision for a third term under President Olusegun Obasanjo administration completely scuttled all the efforts put in to amend the constitution at that time.
“In the same manner another effort for constitutional amendment ended up in the archives after President Goodluck Jonathan refused to promulgate the already concluded exercise because of an innocuous provision that was interpreted by the Presidency to reduce in a very minimal way the powers of the President.
“Again, the public resources expended in that exercise went down the drain. And now President Jonathan is not anywhere to exercise the powers of President.
“This time the much expected constitutional amendment which Nigerians anticipate that will address most of the fears and misgivings of many sections of Nigeria appears doomed as a result of this mischievous and self-serving plot to include in the constitution an immunity provision for Principal Officers of the National Assembly.”
Okorie however expressed concern over what he called “the lopsided nature of the appointments into key and strategic Public Offices by President Muhammadu Buhari” saying such lopsidedness was unsettling.
He urge the President “to review these appointments to reflect the spirit and letters of the Federal Character provision of the Nigerian Constitution which he swore an oath to uphold and defend at his inauguration as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We believe that he will stand out as a man of honour, consideration and integrity if he shows sensitivity to public concern over the exceeding lopsidedness of his appointment to public office.We make this recommendation for the review of these appointments out of genuine patriotic disposition as a friendly opposition political party.”