Unidentified Persons Storm Senate, Snatch Mace

Unidentified Persons Storm Senate, Snatch Mace
Nigeria’s National Assembly was enveloped by tension this morning, as some unidentified persons invaded the Senate Chambers to disrupt proceedings and snatch the mace. The invaders overpowered security personnel and left with the snatched mace.

A statement signed by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, states that the invaders were led by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central Constituency.

The statement describes the development as “An act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government by force.”

Shortly after releasing that statement, Senator Sabi Abdullahi released another statement, disclosing that the Senate has resumed at plenary, after a closed door session where the earlier incident of disruption of proceedings was deliberated upon.

The statement adds that: “The session is holding with the mace, the official  symbol of authority firmly in place, and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremandu, presiding…. The Senate has mandated the Inspector General of Police, Mr Idris Kpolum Ibrahim and the Director General of the State Security Services (SSS), Malam Lawan Daura, to retrieve the mace stolen by the hoodlums within 24 hours”.

Mace

A statement from the Senate on today’s incident

The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, is currently in the USA, on an official assignment.

It would be recalled that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was suspended for 90 days by the Senate five days ago, over his remarks that the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act, which changes the sequence of voting set by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), is targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to a report by TVC News, Senator Omo-Agege was accompanied to the Senate Chambers today by five thugs who forced their way into the Senate’s chambers.

The report explained that while one of the thugs was attacking the female Sergeant – At – Arms, another one was attacking the male Sergeant – At – Arms while another thug took the mace. Equally, another thug accompanied the mace snatcher while another one stood behind Senator Omo-Agege.

TVC News further reported that Senator Omo-Agege sat calmly and watched the scene, while  his colleagues were scampering for safety.

He has reportedly been arrested by the Police.

As explained in the statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, a mace is an official symbol of authority. Usually, it is highly and jealously protected in legislative chambers.

Apparently, today’s speedy replacement of the snatched mace is in response to a lesson that must have been learnt from an unusual previous experience, when Senator Chuba Okadigbo (1941-2003) took the mace to Ogbunike, his hometown in Anambra State, in a bid to stall his impeachment as Senate President in 2000. Eventually, that move did not stop him from being impeached.

In this current development, it is hoped that the Police and the SSS would retrieve the abducted mace within 24 hours as directed by the Senate, to avoid constitutional bottlenecks that may arise, if a “reserve” mace subsists as an official symbol of authority.

Cornelius Ellah
Twitter: @lin_cornellah
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah

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