The Nigeria Police this morning barred #OccupyNASS protesters from gaining entry into the National Assembly complex, with the protesters also vowing not to allow the Senators access to the main gate. 

Our correspondent in Abuja said the police locked the gate leading into the Assembly as soon as they saw the protesters.                                       

#OccupyNASS Coordinator, Retson Tedheke, said his group was comfortable at the main gate, and would occupy the area for the next four days to press home their demands. 

He said that they are demanding stoppage of the re-padding of the budget; scrapping of the constituency project allowances, the return of the SUVs purchased for the Senators at the rate of N35.5million each; and ending impunity in the Senate. 

"All the constituency projects inserted into the budget should be removed; they don't have that right to include their projects,” Tedheke stressed.  Also, they should subject themselves to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and key into the anti-corruption crusade (of the executive arm)."                                          

The group maintained that the National Assembly is bigger than any individual, and that is an aberration for the country to be held to ransom because of the interest of a single person, referring to the drama over the corruption trial of Senate President Bukola Sarka at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

They condemned the way the Senate has been conducting its affairs since Saraki’s ordeal began, saying it is at the expense of Nigerians.

#OccupyNASS has strongly criticized the Senate for going ahead to purchase the brand new exotic jeeps for themselves despite the hardship in the land, calling it a public outrage, insensitive and reprehensible.  

At the time of filing this story, a truck loaded with mobile toilets was arriving at the gate of the National Assembly for the use of the protesters, indicating that they are well-organized.  Over the weekend, an account opened at Skye Bank for donations for the protest was attracting steady contributions from Nigerians all over the world, organizers said.

 

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