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‘Threat to democracy’ — Saraki speaks on police invasion of Edwin Clark’s home

Senate President Bukola Saraki says the raid on the Abuja residence of Edwin Clark is a threat to the country’s democracy.

On Tuesday, some police officers searched Clark’s residence but did not find anything incriminating.

Thereafter, Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police (IGP), ordered the detention of the policemen. Jimoh Moshood, police spokesman, said the policemen carried out the raid without approval from the authorities.

The police have apologised to Clark.

Reacting on Wednesday, Saraki described the incident as an “unwarranted harassment of the statesman”.

“Chief Edwin Clark, a second republic senator, former minister under the general Gowon administration is not just anybody. Yes, he is not above the law. If there is a genuine reason for his home to be searched by law enforcement agencies, nobody will object to it,” Saraki said in a statement released by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his special adviser on media.

“However, as it now appears, for the police to conduct a raid on the home of a man of that age on the pretence that they were looking for arms and eventually, the claim turned out to be a hoax, then something must be amiss.

“This type of action by the police coming at this time when the nation is preparing for election is not reflecting well on the country. Such actions constitute a threat to democracy. They represent gross abuse of state institutions.

“Now that the inspector-general of police has denied that the raid was never authorized, the next move should be a thorough, transparent investigation into the senator Edwin Clark incident to prevent future occurrence.

“This kind of ugly development must stop. This country experienced peaceful change in 2015 because the government in power allowed democracy to work. If the government had allowed the flagrant abuse and misuse of state institutions to be the norm, we would not have had the change that occurred.”

Saraki reminded the federal government of its commitment to world leaders to create a peaceful and conducive atmosphere necessary for a credible, free and fair elections devoid of intimidation, suppression and human rights abuse.

“Democracy is not only about elections. Circumstances that will create tension in any part of the country or make people feel that their fundamental human rights are being trampled upon should be avoided,” he said.

“If a man of the caliber and status of senator Edwin Clark could suffer such unwarranted raid on his home, then what happens to ordinary Nigerians as we move towards the 2019 polls and beyond?”

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