Former Kwara State Governor, Senator Bukola Saraki, Sunday decried the withdrawal of his security detail and asked Nigerians to hold the federal government responsible should any harm befall him.
Describing the act as one of intimidation and harassment as a result of his backing of the breakaway faction from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Saraki threatened to seek legal redress in the court.
In a statement by his media aide, Bankole Omisore, Saraki said the attachment of security detail to him was his legitimate right and therefore could not have been withdrawn as a result of political differences.
“Yesterday (Saturday), the Inspector General of Police directed the immediate withdrawal of security personnel detailed to the former Governor of Kwara State and current Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bukola Saraki (CON).
“The security personnel withdrawn are from the senator’s residences in Abuja and Ilorin.
“The inspector who carried out the exercise, when confronted, disclosed that it was an order from above. It should be noted that the withdrawn security men are legal rights as prescribed by virtue of Kwara State Pension Law of 2010, Third Schedule, Section 2 (3) Paragraph H.
“The security detail attached to Senator Saraki are therefore formally processed, approved and dispatched to his residences not out of favour or luxury demands.
“In view of this new development, it is evidently clear to us that this cannot be unconnected with the recent political activities going on in the country. No doubt, recent events in the nation have been taking strange and tragic dimensions but we have to look beyond our individual interests and let the weight of making Nigeria great dominate our minds as leaders and citizens as Nigeria is bigger than an individual.
“In view of the above position of the law, the Nigerian Police have contravened the law and disregarded same. We view this action as an act of harassment and intimidation to the person of Senator Saraki and we shall not hesitate to seek legal redress against this arbitrary decision.
“We wish to state that the recent move by the Nigerian Police authorities will definitely endanger the life of Senator Bukola Saraki. We hereby call on good citizens of Nigeria to hold the federal government responsible for any eventuality, considering the fact that there are illegal arms going round the country without being properly checked.
“Finally, Senator Saraki wishes to re-affirm his commitment and readiness to uphold the virtues of democracy, good governance, rule of law, equity and justice even in the face of this present intimidation and harassment, as those are parts of the sacrifices we must all make for a better Nigeria we will all be proud of,” the statement said.
Saraki, who represents Kwara Central Senatorial District in the Senate, while speaking to the press in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, yesterday shortly after his arrival from Abuja, said the new PDP would insist on the entrenchment of the principle of “fairness and equity” in the affairs of the party.
Saraki also insisted that there are fundamental issues the New PDP would not compromise in the ongoing negotiations to resolve the crisis within the ruling party.
According to him, “My assurance to all my people since I came for this series of meeting with the various levels of leadership is that negotiations are still going on, but we won’t compromise some fundamentals: we won’t compromise on fairness and equity. And what the people are telling me is that they are with me wherever we go.”
He said: “Politics is all about people; how many people are with you not a matter of nomenclature or press statements. You can see all the members of the state House of Assembly, the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the party in the state, the executives of local governments, etcetera, are here with me.”
Saraki added that the politics of 2013 is different from that of 1999, noting, “What was possible then, cannot be done now. In 2013, you have to fight for the confidence of the people.”
He also spoke on the alleged plan to join Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) or other political parties in the country, saying: “Everybody wants this New PDP, I am sure every party wants the New PDP because if you look at the composition of those that are in it, are people who can deliver. Majority of those people can deliver their states any day, any time; that is the issue.”
He said nobody has said we have left PDP, “but we have given certain conditions that we think are important to strengthen the party. If those things can be done, if they cannot be done, you will hear a lot of speculations.”