European Union Speaks On SSS Siege At National Assembly

The European Union on Thursday expressed serious concerns over the controversial sealing of National Assembly by the State Security Service, warning law enforcement agencies against partisan use of state resources.

“The EU Heads of Missions have noted with concern recent examples of interference in the democratic process by law enforcement services – the most recent case being the barring of access to the National Assembly on August 7,” the organisation said in a statement Thursday morning.

“The EU is fully committed to supporting democracy in Nigeria, and it commends the Federal Government’s swift action to protect the independence of the National Assembly as a critical pillar of democracy,” it added in the statement distributed by Modestus Chukwulaka, its press officer in Abuja.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo fired Lawal Daura as the director-general of the SSS on Tuesday afternoon, hours after the siege drew nationwide uproar.

Mr Osinbajo said the action was unauthorised and restated the administration’s commitment to the rule of law and respect for independent authorities.

The acting president has been commended for his prompt intervention, including by opposition politicians and even lawmakers who initially criticised him for being complacent with Mr Daura’s apparent recklessness.

The British High Commission also condemned the siege in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying it would not tolerate any disregard for democratic norms.

While weighing in on Thursday, the EU emphasised that security agencies must be fair and professional in their conduct, especially against the backdrop of upcoming elections.

“The EU reiterates the importance of all law enforcement services staying neutral and ensuring that independent institutions can operate in line with their constitutional mandates, free from interference and intimidation.

“The upcoming general elections in 2019 are vital in ensuring national stability, peace and prosperity for all Nigerians. It is for the Nigerian people to decide the outcome of the elections, and the EU calls upon all stakeholders in Nigeria to play their part so that voters can make their decision through a free, fair, credible and peaceful election process,” the EU said.