….After thugs beat security, invaded Senate chamber
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The National Assembly, in a joint sitting yesterday, ordered the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Director General of Department for State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, to recover the hallowed mace within the next 24hours.
This is just as the police, led by the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Bello, yesterday arrested the Senator representing Delta Central (APC), for allegedly leading thugs to cart away the Senate mace, and for invading the Senate chambers with thugs despite his suspension.
The trouble started at the Senate wing barely 15 minutes after commencement of plenary presided over by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, when thugs forced their way into the chamber, snatched the mace and ran away with it in the presence of senators around.
In what looked like a well planned invasion, the thugs before entering the hallowed chamber, pretended to be constituents of Senator Omo- Agege who himself, despite been on suspension, forced himself into the chamber.
Attempts made by Police and Sergeant at arms to stop the thugs from running away with the mace proved abortive, as they injured sergeant at arms who attempted to stop them.
Apparently, in confusion over the development, the senators hurriedly went into closed door session for about 50 minutes of which the suspended Omo – Agege was in attendance.
The Senate in a statement issued by its Spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), immediately after the incident, declared that such an attack cannot in anyway get it intimidated from performing its legislative duties.
It described the attack as an act of treason aimed at overthrowing a branch of the Federal government.
Addressing a joint session of both chambers after the closed door session, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said: “This morning we had an unusual incident at the chambers in Senate.
“At about 11:30 am, some armed thugs invaded the Senate chambers, assaulted some of our staff and some of the media persons and forcefully took away the mace of the Senate.
“They passed through the entrance and the gate, and left the National Assembly with the mace. They attempted kidnapping two of our senators, but they were eventually left.
“We decided that we will not be intimidated by the circumstance. We will stand by our democracy, we will defend our democracy. It is an affront on the Senate, it is an affront on democracy, it is an affront on the National Assembly, it is an affront on the parliament – but we are going to stand together to ensure that we continue with the assignment Nigerians gave us to represent them.
“We are going to get to the root of this matter; and I believe that I speak the mind of all of you here if I say that security agencies must recover our mace within 24 hours.
“We are giving the Inspector General of Police and the Department of State Security (DSS) 24 hours to recover our mace.”
The House of Representatives led by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Suleiman Lasun Yusuf, said the assault on Senate was an assault on the entire National Assembly.
According to him, the assault was unacceptable and the National Assembly would never allow itself to be muscled into silence.
Leading Reps to the Senate chamber, he said: “We had decided to visit to show solidarity not with you alone but to tell Nigerians that this assembly must make sure that democracy must work in Nigeria.
“We are in solidarity with you and we will make a resolution to ensure that the mace is recovered within 24 hours. You can rest assured that whatever touches you touches the House of Representatives.”