President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday said the arrest and release of Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe by the Department of State Services was sacrifice for democracy.
Saraki stated this in his remarks on a Point-of-Order raised by Abaribe, who represents Abia South Senatorial District, while briefing his colleagues on his travails, at plenary.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Abaribe was arrested on June 22 on allegation of associating with the Independent Peoples of Biafra and was released on June 26.
Saraki said: “Distinguished Senator Abaribe, we are all happy to see that you are back.
“It was an unfortunate situation that we hope that things will definitely restore back to normal in all these issues that concerns you.
“It is one of these sacrifices that, unfortunately, we all have to make in deepening our democracy.”
Abaribe had said that he had been inundated with letters and calls from Nigerians, especially his colleagues who were worried about the reports on his arrest by the DSS.
He said: “I crave your indulgence and that of my colleagues; first is that on Friday, June 22, I was arrested at the gate of Hilton Hotel while the International Press Institute congress was going on.
“I was taken to the office of the DSS by 11.30 in the morning and subsequently by 5 p.m., I was taken to my house for a search of my residence.
“When we got to my house was the point at which I was now formally informed of why I was arrested.
“The search warrant that was used stated clearly that I’m being accused with aiding and sponsoring a proscribed organisation, IPOB.
“So, the search of my house was to look for evidence of such.
“After the search which took another five to six hours, I was taken to the office of the DSS about 12 midnight and kept there.”
The lawmaker said that his release from detention was through the intervention of all well-meaning Nigerians led by the president of the senate, and the leadership of the senate.
Saraki said: “So, I am very glad and grateful and want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians who were concerned and who did everything to secure my release.
“Nothing has been found in connection with the allegations that were made. Up till this moment, I am still on bail, administrative bail, by the DSS.
“Every morning, I have to report to the DSS; but, of course these things are going to be challenged in the court of law.”
He quoted a statement by the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, saying “patriotism means to stand by the country.
He said: “It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.
“It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.
“In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
Abaribe, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, said that he would continue to tell the truth.
He added: “I will continue to stand by this country and I will continue to say no person is bigger than this country.”