20 April 2018

Nigeria: Mace Theft - Senate Summons IGP, DSS Boss Over Security Breach

Photo: The Guardian
National assembly.

The Senate, yesterday, summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Lawal Daura, to appear and brief it on investigations into the invasion of its hallowed chambers on Wednesday.

It also vowed that the culprits will not go unpunished.

The Senate resolution nonetheless, the man at the centre of the crisis, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) yesterday got an injunction to restrain the Police, DSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami from arresting or detaining him.

Meanwhile, an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, yesterday, restrained the Nigerian Police Force and the Department of State Service, DSS, from arresting Senator Ovie Omo-Agege over Wednesday's invasion of the Senate and theft of the Mace which is its symbol of authority, by thugs.

Chief Judge of the High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, gave the order following an ex-parte motion the Senator who is representing Delta Central Senatorial District, filed through his team of lawyers.

Specifically, the court issued "an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents, their agents and/or servants arresting and/or detaining the applicant either in their custody or any other law enforcement agency, or its servants, agents or privies or through any person working in concert with the respondent as its agents, by whatever means or however described pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed in this suit.

"An order of interim injunction restraining the respondents, their representatives, agents or privies, howsoever described from any attempt or threat to violate the applicant's fundamental right to personal liberty and right to freedom of movement pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed in this suit.

As well as "An order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from taking any or further steps detrimental to the applicant's aforementioned fundamental rights to the applicant's rights in connection with the facts stated in this matter pending the hearing of the motion on notice filed in this suit."

The court held that the order will persist until a fundamental right enforcement suit that Omo-Agege filed before it is heard and determined.

Cited as Respondents in the suit were the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Sadiq Bello, and the Director-General of DSS, Lawal Daura.

Justice Bello adjourned hearing on the substantive suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/1522/2018, which he transferred to Justice Usman Musale of the high court in Jabi, till May 7.

Senate bids to overhaul security at NASS

Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday resolved to overhaul its security apparatus to ensure that a repeat of the incident does not occur.

The Senate has also insisted on looking inward, just as it vowed not to leave any stone unturned as regards confronting security challenge in the National Assembly and the country at large.

As part of moves to address the security challenge, the Senate during a closed-door session that preceded yesterday's plenary session resolved to collaborate with the House of Representatives in addressing the security challenges.

Police return 'snatched' Mace

Meanwhile, the police yesterday returned the mace that was stolen by thugs to the Senate authorities.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police, DIG (Operations) Mr. Habila Joseph returned the mace at exactly 11:55 a.m when senators were in the closed-door session.

He handed over the mace to the Clerk of the National Assembly, CNA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori at the entrance of the main lobby of the National Assembly.

Senators close ranks with Reps

Following the Senate session yesterday, the Senate delegation led by the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, met with the House leadership towards forging a common consensus on the situation facing the National Assembly.

The Senate has also ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Director-General of the Department of State Services ( DSS), Lawan Daura, to appear before it next week to brief it on how far it has gone with the investigations.

Vanguard also gathered that at the closed-door session, the Senators agreed that if the culprits were not arrested by next week , the legislative house will take a very strong position on outstanding issues it has with the executive branch of government.

Speaking yesterday after the closed-door session that preceded yesterday's plenary, Senator Ekweremadu holding fort in the absence of Senator Saraki said that both Idris and Lawal would explain to the upper legislative chamber, the thoroughness of their investigations on the ugly incident.

Desecration won't go unpunished -- Ekweremadu

Ekweremadu meanwhile vowed yesterday that the desecration of the Senate chambers would not go unpunished.

In a speech he delivered to the Senate themed: "The Affront on Our Laws and Institutions Must Not Go Unpunished" he said: "Yesterday, this legislative chamber, the nation, and the international community were treated to the theatre of the absurd when armed men invaded the chamber to assault our staff and cart away the mace, the symbol of authority of the Senate. It was a very sad testimony, a derogation, and total smear on our democracy and nation.

"On behalf of the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Dr. Bukola Saraki, CON, I want to register deep appreciation to you, my colleagues for your understanding and maturity in the face of flagrant provocation. You showed yourselves as patriots and elder statesmen and women. I am indeed proud of you and salute your patriotism.

"I want to also specially appreciate the leadership and members of the House of Representatives, the Management and staff of the National Assembly, especially our chamber staff for their gallantry. We appreciate Nigerians, the media, civil society, the political parties, and the international community for the outpouring of solidarity and concern. Ugly and provocative as the event of yesterday was, it soothes that the entire nation and the world stood together in total condemnation of the ugly drama, brigandage, and desecration of the National Assembly by those, who hold themselves above the laws and institutions of our land.

"You would also recall that this hallowed chamber, supported by the House of Representatives, demanded that the Inspector-General of Police recover and return the stolen mace to the Senate within 24 hours. Concerned colleagues and Nigerians, who wanted to find out if the mace had been found, have inundated me with calls and messages since last night. Let me, therefore, formally confirm to you, my distinguished colleagues, that the mace has been recovered by the Police as we demanded here in this hallowed chamber.

"Nevertheless, we believe that there should be consequence for bad behaviour. We swore to uphold the laws of the Federal Republic and the principles of democracy. It still beats the imagination of Nigerians and the civilised world that the attackers passed through the several security checks and barriers into the National Assembly and the inner recesses of this chamber and also escaped with the mace into the thin air despite the well-known fortified surroundings of this parliament.

"Therefore, we hold that it will be a detour to the state of nature where life was lawless and brutish if what happened yesterday is allowed to go unpunished or swept under the carpet. It will never happen. We will get to the roots of the matter. We call on the Inspector-General of Police and Director-General of the State Security Service to ensure that all those, who plotted, aided, abated, and executed this dastardly affront on our democracy and belittled Nigeria before the international community must be brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others. We will be inviting them next week to brief us on the state of the investigations.

"This incident has also brought to the fore the case many of us have always made for a decentralised police system. Ordinarily, a big institution like the National Assembly should have its own Police, apart from the Sergeants-at-Arms."

More on This

Stolen Senate Mace Recovered At Abuja City Gate

The Police Thursday said they have recovered the mace of the Nigerian Senate which was taken away from the National… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Vanguard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.