• Wants explanation on collapse of security day gang attacked parliament • How plot to impeach Saraki, Ekweremadu was foiled
Fred Itua; Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Senate has summoned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Daura Lawal to appear before it to explain Wednesday’s securiy lapses in the National Assembly.
The head of the two security outfits are expected to appear and brief senators on the state of investigation on the invasion and the snatching of the mace, the senate’s symbol of authority.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who made the disclosure after a closed-door session, yesterday, described the invasion as “a very sad testimony, a derogation, and total smear on our democracy and nation.”
Ekweremadu declared: “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.”
On Wednesday, at about 11.30am, five persons beat the security in the National Assembly and snatched the mace, while the day’s legislative business was ongoing.
Mulling the need for the National Assembly to have its own police, Ekweremadu said the current security architecture of the parliament was outside the control of lawmakers. He also recalled how what played out on Wednesday had been playing out in many state Houses of Assembly across the country.
“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 gangterism that was witnessed here yesterday has been recorded in various State Houses of Assembly,” he said.
Meanwhile, the IGP, Idris, has returned the stolen mace to the senate. The IGP who was represented by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations, Mr. Habila Joshak, handed over the mace to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Omolori.
Ekweremadu acknowledged receipt of the mace on the floor of the Senate.
The Police Force Headquarters in Abuja said the mace was recovered at a flyover before the Abuja City Gate.
Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, ASP Aremu Adeniran, said in a statement that a patriotic passer-by saw it and alerted the Police.
The statement read: “Sequel to the invasion of the Senate Chambers of the National Assembly by some suspected thugs who disrupted the senate plenary session and carted away the mace, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris immediately instituted a high-powered police Investigation and Intelligence Team coordinated by the IGP Monitoring Unit of the Force and further directed a total lock-down of the Federal Capital Territory with intense surveillance patrol and thorough stop and search operations at various police check-points with a view to arresting perpetrators and possible recovery of the stolen mace.
“The police teams engaged in massive raids of identified criminal spots/flashpoints, stop and search operations, visibility and confidence building patrols, intelligence gathering, which forced the suspected miscreants to abandon the mace at a point under the flyover before the City Gate, where a patriotic passer-by saw it and alerted the Police.
“While a discreet investigation into the incident is still ongoing to arrest and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Nigeria Police Force appreciates the spirited members of the public, most especially motorists within Abuja metropolis for their support, cooperation and timely information during the rigorous stop and search operations for the recovery of the mace.”
Meanwhile, Daily Sun has reliably gathered that the invasion and snatching of the mace was a fallout of a meeting held by some lawmakers at the residence of a ranking senator from North Central in Abuja on Tuesday night.
A senator who is familiar with what transpired explained how the news of the plot came to Ekweremadu few minutes after the senate commenced its session.
“What played out on Wednesday didn’t come as a surprise. The only difference is that it happened too suddenly and we didn’t have the needed time to counter them. But I am glad that their plot didn’t work out in the end.
“On Tuesday night in Abuja, there was a meeting held by some senators. At that meeting, they agreed on how to effect a leadership change in the senate, with support from some state actors. But we didn’t know about this until we were already in session on Wednesday.
“If you noticed, some senators who attended the meeting were all present on the floor of the Senate that day. These are the same senators who hardly attend proceedings. But because they had a plan, they all attended plenary.
“In that meeting, they plotted that Omo-Agege will forcefully come into the chamber. And that actually happened. As soon as those hoodlums struck and left with the mace, the plotters were thinking that the Senate was going to adjourn out of fear and close the chamber for the day.
“If that had happened, they would have taken over the Senate. They had planned that as soon as the Senate was deserted, they would reconvene with the mace. Even when they are in the minority, they would removed the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu and replace them with loyalists of the president.
“What I think happened was that Omo-Agege was betrayed. We disappointed them. We refused to fight or abandon the senate for anyone and that stopped their plan for now. I know they are still meeting and they will not give up as long as they see Saraki and Ekweremadu as enemies of President Muhammadu Buhari.”