Nigerian parliament taken over by hooded, armed men

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

On Tuesday, security services blocked access to parliament’s two chambers in what Nigeria’s senate president has called a ‘plot’ to remove him.

Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki today called for a probe into a parliament takeover by security services the day before, assuring people that the constitution will be respected.

“We call for an investigation, and we demand that all perpetrators are brought to book,” said Saraki at a packed press conference in the nation’s capital of Abuja.

“We owe it to ourselves to ensure that such a situation never occurs again.” Saraki described the “ugly incident” as a “brazen assault on the legislature”, urging the government to respect the rule of law.

He said the security siege was part of a plot to remove him from office.

On Tuesday, hooded armed men from the police and Department of State Service (DSS), blocked access to the two chambers – the Senate and House of Representatives – preventing lawmakers from entering.

The Nigerian presidency denied authorising the move, which comes amid a surge of tension between President Muhammadu Buhari and political rivals.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, acting as head of the country while Buhari is on holiday, ordered the dismissal of DSS chief Lawal Musa Daura “with immediate effect”.

Saraki, the country’s third-highest ranking politician, last week dumped the APC for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The APC has called on him to resign, suspecting him to be the force behind defections that have damaged the party’s standing and Buhari’s chances of re-election.

The presidential race is heating up in Nigeria six months ahead of February polls, with Buhari coming under criticism for his handling of security issues and the economy in Africa’s most populous country.


today in print