ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja
Senate on Thursday summoned the Department of State Services, Police over state of investigation on stolen mace describing the incident as an affront on the nation’s democracy.
This is even as the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Joseph Habila, handed over the mace to the clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.
Habila handed over the mace to Clerk of the National Assembly at the main entrance while the Senate was in closed door session.
Speaking at the end of the closed door session which lasted for one hour, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu vowed not allow the perpetrators and their sponsors go unpunished or to be swept under the carpet.
According to him, 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.
Ekweremadu, who spoke on behalf of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki 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, I want to register deep appreciation to you, my colleagues for your understanding and maturity in the face of flagrant provocation. You showed forth 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 outpour 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.
“Distinguished colleagues, 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 twenty-four 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 thing 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 to be 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 decentrlaised police system. Ordinarily, a big institution like the National Assembly should have its own police, apart from the Sergeants-at-Arm. However, the security of this parliament is fully outside the control of the National Assembly. Instructively, the same gangsterism that was witnessed here yesterday has been recorded in various State Houses of Assembly.
“It is on this note, distinguished colleagues, that I welcome you back to this Thursday plenary. I want to assure Nigerians that we will never waver in the responsibility they have elected us to shoulder. We will all stand together to defend this institution of the parliament and our democracy. We will never fear to legislate; and we will never legislate out of fear.”
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