Senate President Bukola Saraki has condemned in strong terms Tuesday’s raid on Edwin Clark’s home in Abuja by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement on Wednesday, Saraki described the raid as a “gross abuse of state institutions” and a “threat to democracy”.
“The unwarranted harassment of Chief Edwin Clark, who is known for being very vocal in expressing his views on national issues, at a time when the nation is preparing for elections does not reflect well on the country,” he said.
“Chief Clark, who is also a Second Republic Senator and former minister under the General Gowon administration is not above the law,” Saraki said.
“If there is a genuine reason for his home to be searched by law enforcement agencies, nobody will object to it. However, as it appears now, 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 — means that something is amiss.
“These actions represent a gross abuse of state institutions.”
Noting that since the Inspector General of Police had denied authorising the raid, the next move “should be a thorough, transparent investigation into the Senator Edwin Clark incident to prevent future reoccurrences”.
Saraki then credited the previous administration with the “peaceful change in 2015”, saying it was 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 said.
“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.
“If a man of the caliber and status of Senator Edwin Clark can suffer such an unwarranted raid on his home, then what will happen to ordinary Nigerians as we move towards the 2019 polls and beyond?”
Joining Saraki in condemning the raid on Clark’s home is a former vice president and presidential aspirant in 2019, Atiku Abubakar, who berated the APC for being intolerant of opposition.
Yesterday's invasion of the residence of elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark stands condemned and again underscores the extent that this administration can go to discredit and debase the opposition.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) September 5, 2018
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson has also cried foul over the harassment.
I condemn in strong terms the recent raid on the residence of Chief Edwin Clark. It is indeed preposterous for anybody to associate Pa Clark, a former Federal Commissioner,Senator and a Leader of his people with gunrunning at the age of 92.This is sad.@benmurraybruce @renoomokri
— Dickson Seriake (@iamHSDickson) September 5, 2018
Similarly, former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has condemned the raid by the police.
The unlawful invasion of the residence of elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark by men of the Nigerian police is another sad episode in the recent catalogue of embarrassments, witnessed under the current administration. pic.twitter.com/HHKnDZb6c0
— Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (@KwankwasoRM) September 5, 2018
Other Nigerians have joined in criticising the raid, with some calling for the removal of the Inspector-general of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Apology shouldn't be accepted.Let the old man head to court. IGP Idris is a reckless & callous cop.https://t.co/BE3e1dBAUr
— John Danfulani (@john_danfulani) September 5, 2018
Four police officers raided Edwin Clark's residence with a warrant from the court & claimed they were sent by the IGP. The IGP said he's not aware.
So who are these officers working for & on whose authority are they carrying out such search?
I've a feeling the IGP is lying
— Miz Cazorla (@MizCazorla1) September 5, 2018
IGP Idris is not aware and didn't order the raid on the residence of Edwin Clark.
IGP isn't aware of blockade of Saraki's convoy, he's not aware of so many things around him and what his boys are doing. It's possible that he's not aware that he's the IG of police. Smh
— AJALA (@UNCLE_AJALA) September 5, 2018