President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of trying to militarize Benue state after armed policemen invaded the State Assembly.
A group under the aegis of Benue Valley Initiative has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of militarising the nation’s democracy and for besieging the State Assembly by armed policemen, according to a DailyPost report.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Terhemen Oscar Aorabee, Esq. Daniel Orshi Ayoh, Esq, Chairman and Secretary of the group respectively.
It would be recalled that some days ago, the Commissioner of Police in Benue State, Fatai Owoseni was redeployed out of Benue State, less than a year after he assumed duty, for failure to stop the impeachment of Rt. Honourable Terkimbi Ikyange by 22 members of the Benue State House of Assembly who had impeached him and proceeded to elect another Speaker and principal officers of the House.
It reads, “After his arrival, the new Commissioner of Police, Besan Dapiya Gwana, he proceeded to lay siege and besiege the hallowed premises of the Benue State House of Assembly and prevented members of the House from gaining access there. The members were compelled to sit elsewhere and conduct legislative proceedings.
“Sequel to the above, the 22 members of the Benue State House of Assembly approached the Benue State High Court and on 27/7/2018 obtained an Interim Injunction restraining Rt. Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange, from parading himself as the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and also restraining the Inspector General of Police and his servants and agents, from cordoning off the premises of the House of Assembly and preventing the 22 legislators from performing their constitutional duties. The orders were served on all parties concerned.
“We have also observed that this morning, 30th July, 2018, a detachment of Policemen with Armoured Cars and Personnel Carriers, drawn from Abuja, Nasarawa and Benue State, in clear defiance of the subsisting Court order, invaded the premises of the Benue State House of Assembly and prevented the 22 Legislators from entering the premises while they allowed Rt. Hon. Terkimbi Kyange and 7 other members into the premises”, the group explained.
The group said, while it’s not going to comment on the legality or otherwise of the impeachment of Hon. Terkimbi Kyange because it is beyond its mandate to do so, especially that the matter is pending in Court and therefore, subjudice.
“We are worried that the Federal Government is gradually militarizing democracy by using the force of arms to rough handle and dictate to the Legislature from the National to the State Assemblies what should be done, especially where such legislature is not willing to be at the beck and call of the Buhari led administration.
“It is obvious that President Buhari, who truncated our fledgeling democracy in 1983 through a Military Coup D’état, is also bent on implementing another subversion of the will of the people by executing another Coup against democracy by instalments.
“We condemn in very strong terms this militarization of democracy, and call upon the President to allow the democratic process to flow even if it is flawed, but give way to the Judiciary to perform her role as the arbiter and interpreter of the law.
“We are concerned that the president, under a democracy, will flout an existing order of Court and without due process, move so swiftly against political opponents who are members of the Legislature, with force of arms reserved for criminal elements, and yet develop clay feet against armed Fulani herdsmen on a killing spree in the Benue Valley and the Middle Belt.
“We call again upon the President to pay the kind of attention that he is paying to the Benue Political crisis to the protection of lives and property. He should, therefore, deploy the Police to Zamfara where armed herdsmen are holding sway and killing helpless citizens.
“We call upon the President to order the Inspector General of Police to withdraw the illegal detachment of Police and lift the siege against the Benue State House of Assembly in obedience to the orders of the High Court of Justice and allow the due process of law to be followed either in the Legislature or the Courts”, the statement stressed.
The group recalled that barely a week ago, the premises of the Senate President and the Deputy Senate Presidents were besieged by the Police in an attempt to prevent them from presiding over the Senate plenary where aggrieved senators were to decamp from the ruling party to the opposition.