Abuja – President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Tuesday stated that a large proportion of public office holders pretending to be helping the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari are actually enemies of democracy.
He made the remark at the plenary of the senate in response to issues raised by Senator Dino Melaye who expressed anger over the news that he has to be charged to court by the Federal government for allegedly giving false information to the police over alleged attempt on his life sometime last year.
Melaye, who brought the issue to the attention of the Parliament under Order 43 of the Senate Rules, expressed defiance as he vowed that his planned arraignment by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, would not deter him from criticising the Federal Government or any public office holder constructively when necessary.
According to him, the plan to get him prosecuted was a reaction by the Presidency to his criticism of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and not for any other reason.
The Federal Government through the AGF, had announced last Sunday, plan to arraign Melaye on Thursday, March 1, 2018, for allegedly giving false information to the Police and framing the Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, Edward Onoja, on the alleged failed attempt on his life.
He told the Red Chamber that when the failed attempt on his life was made in 2017 at his home in Kogi, the Police asked him to name the suspects, and he gave the names of those whom he claimed were after his life based on their previous utterances.
He further hinted the lawmakers that the Police, in accordance with the names he supplied to them, subsequently made some arrests, pointing that guns were recovered from the apprehended suspects.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain said that no amount of persecution or blackmail would stop him from criticizing people’s wrong doings including President Muhammadu Buhari, stressing that it would amount to crime against the people to keep quiet in an unjust society.
He said: “If this arraignment is to stop me from criticising the Federal government, they have committed a capital compound mistake. I shall continue to speak, I shall continue to ask questions, I shall continue to criticise any public officer including the President of Nigeria where he has gone wrong.
“I have conquered fear and I am not afraid of the prison. The last administration arrested me 14 times; the Abacha and Babangida governments detained me. I am not afraid of the prison, it is built because of human beings but we will continue to speak the truth not minding whose ox is gored.
“In an unjust society, silence is a crime. The battle to bring Nigeria back on track from these criminals in power is a battle of no retreat no surrender and I am ready to face the Federal Government on this matter. I will fight it with the last drop of my blood, no retreat no surrender.”
In his comments on the issue raised by Melaye, Senate President Bukola Saraki argued that the Federal Government taking Senator Melaye to court on the matter in question was not the way to go but insisted that the lawmakers would continue to speak out on issues they considered to be wrong in the society.
He pointed out that some people in government were actual enemies of democracy while pretending to be helping the government.
He stressed that members of the Parliament would continue to fight in defence of democracy and to ensure that the right things are done.
“Senator Dino Melaye, your points are well noted and I do not see how the issue of arraignment can be a way forward in a matter like this but be that as it may, I want us all to continue to defend democracy and fight for what is right and I can assure you that this institution will continue to stand for what is right.
“There are those who think that they are helping the government but sometimes they are doing things that are not in the interest of this democracy and I think they need to do what is right for the interest of all of us. But for sure, what is wrong is wrong and I think those who are looking at this will have a review and do what is right,” he said.