Twitter Agog yesterday as Nigerians witness another dramatic show of shame coming from its national assembly specifically its red chamber. The Senate on Wednesday withness how suspended senator Ovie Omo -Agege, and some hoodlums allegedly stormed the Senate plenary session and seized the symbol of authority, the mace before he was whisked away by the Nigeria police.
The development has triggered more reaction from Nigerians with the exchange of videos and information at their disposal online.
@express_urban platform has been agog with many reactions coming from Nigerians. “We now have mace runners in this country called Nigeria”. “National Assembly has turned to Nollywood”
The video going viral saw commotion in the National Assembly with some armed thugs in the Senate to reinstate a suspended senator, ovie Omo Agege, overpowering the security men where it shows a visibly injured lady attendant
With one of them forcibly took away the mace
The mace is the symbol of authority of the legislature, without which the Senate cannot commence a legislative session.
An eyewitness told urban express news correspondent that the invaders, numbering 12, came in three Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) which were parked in front of the National Assembly building that houses the two chambers.
He Said: “ Few of them took charge of the entrance to the premises while others manned the vehicles.
Within five minutes after alighting from the vehicles, three of the invaders who entered the chamber came out with the mace, got into the vehicles and moved to escape.
On getting to the main gate, they discovered it was already locked. They turned towards the gate linking the National Assembly to the Presidential Villa, popularly called Villa gate, and through the route, they successfully sped away.
Shortly after, the Senate reopened the chamber. The lawmakers remained helpless. It was later learnt that they were holding an emergency closed session.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was presiding at the time the incident happened.
Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), who was brought back to the chamber by armed men, was arrested at the end of the plenary session at 1:50 p.m. by a team of senior police officers led by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Abubakar Bello.
His arrest was not without resistance as he had insisted that he could not be arrested in the National Assembly. But he was later overpowered by the security operatives and dragged into a waiting police van.
But some senators engaged in a show of solidarity with Omo-Agege at the chamber, taking turns to walk to the embattled lawmaker at his seat to exchange banters with him. They included Nelson Effingham (APC, Akwa Ibom), Tayo Alasadura (APC, Ondo) and Andrew Uchendu (APC, Rivers).
The Senate condemned an alleged attempted kidnap of two of its members by the armed invaders. It, however, did not mention the names of the senators.
In a statement shortly after the incident, Senate spokesman, Aliu Sabi Abdullahi, described the seizure of the mace as “an act of treason”, adding that
“it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force, and it must be treated as such.
“All security agencies should stand on the side of due process and immediately mobilize their personnel to retrieve the mace and apprehend the masterminds and the perpetrators of this act.”
The House of Representatives leadership in solidarity visits condemned the invasion of the Senate. The lawmakers, who suspended their plenary session described the incident as an assault on democratic practice in the country.
The House while adopting a motion jointly moved by Bode Ayorinde and Director Douye at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Yusuf Lasun, directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to ensure the recovery of the mace within 24 hours.
“ sources that would not want their name to be on print told urban express news online that the newly introduced bill on a revised sequence of election and anticipated suspension of some prominent senators prompted the attempt to disrupt proceedings.
“ The that fact that the invaders escaped through the back gate that leads into the villa shows that it received the backing of some operatives in the highest seat of power”.
According to the source, “Saraki’s continued headship of the Senate in the period leading to the national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the forthcoming presidential primary seems not to sit well with some powerful individuals.
The source rejected suggestions that President Mohammadu Buhari, who is currently outside the country, is privy to the attempt to shut down the upper chamber.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria police on Thursday said they have recovered the mace of the Nigeria Senate take away from the National Assembly on Wednesday by hoodlums.
Speaking to journalists, the Deputy force public relation officer Force headquarters, Aremu Adeniran said the Senate symbol of authority was recovered at Abuja city gate. Aremu, An Assistant superintendent of police, said after continuous engagements in massive raids of identified criminals spot and flashpoints, stop and search operation with the quick intervention of police was what forced the suspected miscreants to abandon the mace at a point under flyover within city gate