Lawmaker representing Rivers West Senatorial District and member of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Betty Apiafi, has said that members of the Shiite group have the right to protest, but should conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
The lawmaker made the statement when the Chairman of the committee, Senator Adedayo Adeye and some members spoke to journalists about the invasion of the National Assembly by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
Recall that, members of the group staged a bloody protest at the entrance of the National Assembly on Tuesday; allegedly killing two people and injuring two police officers in the process.
Senator Apiafi noted that, the lawmakers were not against the group complaining about their predicament, but insisted that they should follow due process and not try to take the law into their hands.
She said, “It’s an on going conversation and I don’t think the group is handling this issue the very best way.
“They have a right to protest, but when they come in large numbers, they come as a threat.
They can send a delegation and they will be addressed.”
On his part, Senator Adeyeye strongly condemned the attack by the protesters who were demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
He noted that security at the National Assembly is very porous and needs to be stepped up to prevent a repeat of the unfortunate incident.
“While the National Assembly is a public place for Nigerians, citizens must follow proper channels and protocols if they have cause(s) to access its premises.
“Senate hereby calls for security beef up within the National Assembly and other institutions henceforth,” he said.
Responding to a question on the petition written by the group to the National Assembly, Adeyeye said their petition was sent to the 8th assembly and not to the 9th Assembly.
“Not to this one to the best of my knowledge. Moreover, if they want to come here in furtherance of their petition, there are better ways to do that. Maybe send one or two of their leaders, book appointment and they will be attended to.”
He further thanked security agencies in the National Assembly for being professional and putting in a strong level of restraint while handling the matter.