Security forces personnel temporarily blockaded the National Assembly in Abuja on the morning of Tuesday, August 7 (local time), preventing lawmakers, journalists, and other National Assembly employees from entering the building. The move comes as several lawmakers have defected from President Muhammadu Buhari's ruling party in recent weeks and have joined the opposition. While no explanation was immediately announced for the blockade, the move prompted condemnation from the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, calling it a violation of the rule of law. Osinbajo also subsequently fired the head of the Department of State Security (DSS), Lawal Musa Daura, on Tuesday for his alleged role in the incident. Several opposition representatives, for their part, have accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of staging the blockade to oust President of the Nigerian Senate Bukola Saraki from office.
Additional similar incidents and related demonstrations are possible in Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria in the lead-up to the February 2019 general election.
The Nigerian National Assembly has recently witnessed a period of heightened tensions due to a political rivalry between President Muhammadu Buhari and President of the Nigerian Senate Bukola Saraki, who may contest Buhari's reelection bid in the February 2019 general election. Saraki is suspected of having facilitated the defections of dozens of APC members from the party in mid-July.
Individuals in Abuja are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.