Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Senate was under attack, yesterday, when a suspended Senator, Senator Ovie Omo- Agege stormed the Senate plenary session with thugs and seized the mace, the symbol of authority.
Some senior lawyers told Daily Sun that the move was equaivalent of a civilian coup against the second arm of government.
In his reaction, rights activist and social crusader, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) described it as a sad day for Democracy and the country
“What happened (yesterday) was a civilian equivalent of a coup d’etat on the second arm of government. It is a great disaster for democracy and it should be roundly condemned.
“For a senator, who was suspended, whether rightly or wrongly, and who has approached the court to invoke its powers, under section 6 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and pronounce on his suspension, to now violate his oath of office and invade the sacred chambers of the Senate, with thugs, who forcefully and physically grabbed the symbol of authority, of hope and integrity, is a sad development.
“This is the same senator who sat on the committee that suspended Senator Ali Ndume for 180 days. It is sad for our democracy. It is a day of lamentation for our country.”
Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Solo Akuma, described the action as a desecration of the installation of the legislature.
“It was despicable and condemnable. Whoever encouraged it should be condemned. I don’t know whether the Legislative Privileges Act, which gives them immunity against what they say on the floor of the Senate can shield him from prosecution. But, from a criminal point of view, it is a breach of peace and assault. It is a criminal attempt to overrun the Senate and it should be condemned.”
On his part, a former member of the House of Representatives and a legal practitioner, West-Idahosa said what transpired at the Senate was treasonable felony.
“What happened was unlawful obstruction of the legitimate sitting of the Senate, under the constitution, which entitled the Senate to sit and carry out its legislative functions.
“For a group of thugs to disrupt the proceedings, in my view, amounts to treason, which is punishable under the Penal Code. This is a very serious offence which goes to the heart of our democracy and all hands must be on deck so that the perpetrators be punished,” Idahosa said.