The Transparency International (TI), a global watchdog, on Wednesday condemned the siege to the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services.
It noted that the administrations of former Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, also used force against the legislature.
The TI said the sacking and subsequent arrest of the former Director-General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, were commendable, adding that the police must be thorough with the investigation.
The TI Nigeria Head, Musa Rafsanjani, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, recalled that in November 2014, some members of the House of Representatives under the APC, which was then the party in opposition, were prevented by security agents from gaining access to the National Assembly Complex.
The action by the security men forced the lawmakers to scale the fence.
The TI Head, Rafsanjani, said, “We are seeing a repeat of this impunity and abuse of power that have been happening unfortunately since the return of democracy in 1999. We have seen it under Obasanjo where not less than four Senate Presidents were forcefully removed and where about three state governors were also removed using the state instrumentality.
“We have also seen the repeat of this irresponsible attitude during Jonathan where the National Assembly members were also blocked and denied access into their offices. We have seen the DSS locking out the opposition parties at that time also.
“This time around, we are seeing a repeat of such culture of abuse of office by impunity and rascality demonstrated by leaders to suit their political interests. This is not the kind of democracy we fought for.
We cannot allow such harassment and intimidation of the so-called opposition parties. Politicians at all levels are not learning any lesson.
“The good thing at this time was the swift response from the Presidency. The first thing was for the head of such agency to be removed because he has abused his power.
His action amounted to undermining the responsibilities of the government. It is good that he is being investigated so that we can have a loaded response not only to the DSS but to other security agencies which may have plans to toe that line.”