The main headlines in mainstream newspapers today, Friday, July 27, are focused on the mass defections from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Nigerian Police Force’s investigation of Senate president Bukola Saraki, concerning the Offa robbery incident.
The Punch is reporting that Senate president Bukola Saraki was grilled at his office in the National Assembly Complex by a team of detectives from the Nigeria Police on Thursday afternoon, July 26.
The development was reportedly made public on Twitter by Saraki’s special assistant on new media, Olu Onemola.
He tweeted: “Further to the invitation to the Senate president, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Police on July 23, 2018, and his written response to them on July 24, 2018, on why he could not see them that day; today at about 1:40pm, the Senate president met with a team of investigators on the Offa robbery case in his office.
“Dr Saraki used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that he had nothing to do with either the robbery incident on April 5, 2018, or any other criminal activity.”
The Guardian is also reporting about the interrogation of the Senate president by Police operatives, concerning the Offa incident.
The publication pointed out that in response to the second invitation by the Police to appear at their headquarters, Saraki had on Tuesday, July 24, written to IGP Ibrahim Idris, requesting that he send a team of investigators to his office to carry out the investigation.
The letter read: “I acknowledge your letter dated 23rd of July 2018. For the record, I should mention that I received your letter at 8:30pm on Monday, 23rd July, inviting me for the next day at 8am.
“The two lawyers whose advice I needed were in Calabar and Lagos and had to travel to Abuja today. As you are aware, the deputy president of the Senate was unable to leave his residence this morning to preside over the Senate, having being prevented from doing so by security agents. If he had been able to preside over the Senate, I would have honoured your invitation.”
The Nation is however reporting that All Progressives Congress (APC) senators are demanding that Senate president Bukola Saraki and speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara step down, following the mass defection of some lawmakers away from the APC.
The senators are insisting on their simple majority, which they believe will soon be more consolidated.
They are demanding that the principal officers of both chambers of the National Assembly must step down if the APC retains the majority by September 26 when the lawmakers end their annual recess.
The publication adds that the lawmakers, who are mostly members of the Parliamentary Support Group (PSG), may ask Saraki to quit if he is put on trial over the Offa robbery.
On its part, Vanguard is focused on the reaction of the Presidency to the defections.
According to the publication, the Presidency on Thursday, July 26, said that it had met and discussed with a large number of senators and members of the House of Representatives who defected to the PDP and other opposition political parties; noting that they had resolved to work for the actualisation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid.
The disclosure was made by the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly matters (Senate), Senator Solomon Ita Enang, during a chat with newsmen in Abuja.
Enang also did not rule out the possibility of some of the defectors returning to APC. He said: “They have not fully defected as they only signified their intention to move to another party; so, that gives room for conciliation and reconciliation.”
This Day is reporting that the crisis in the ruling APC party is far from over, as the governor of Kwara state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, said party members in the state were tired of the party, hinting that the time had come for them to move elsewhere.
The governor made the comment at the party’s stakeholders’ forum in Ilorin, the state capital.
The publication reports that he said there was no more hope for redress in the APC ahead of the 2019 general election.
He added: “We are only waiting for our leader, Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, to give us the new direction and hope so as to move forward.”
Senators, lawmakers defect from APC - on Legit.ng TV: