The Senate plenary was on Wednesday disrupted after suspected thugs invaded the chamber and made away with the mace- the symbol of authority of the parliament.
The incident happened few seconds after a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, entered the chamber.
Mr Omo-Agege was previously suspended for 90 days after accusing his colleagues of working against the interest of President Muhammadu Buhari.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that about 10 suspected thugs came to the National Assembly with the senator. The thugs forced their entrance into the chamber and within seconds ran out of the chamber with the mace causing pandemonium in the Senate. They left the National Assembly with the mace in a black SUV.
One of the security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly said the thugs told him and other officers they were with the senator. “We tried to stop them but they told us they were with him (Omo-Agege),” he said.
After the thugs left, the Senate went into an executive session after which it announced it was starting plenary.
The Senate accused a lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege, of leading hoodlums to seize the mace, which serves as the chamber’s symbol of authority.
After about an hour the thugs stole the symbol of authority, the Senate resumed plenary with replacement mace. The lawmakers appear to have secured a replacement mace which is being used for the plenary.
The plenary was presided by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. According to a statement sent to the Premium Times by the Senate spokesperson Mr. Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate has mandated the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Kpotum Ibrahim and Director General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mallam Lawan Daura, to retrieve the mace stolen by the hoodlums within 24 hours.”
Mr Omo-Agege was later arrested by the police after he returned to the Senate chamber following the theft.
In a statement after the incident on Wednesday, Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, said the incident is an act of treason. It is an attempt to overthrow an arm of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force.
Read the full statement below:
RESPONSE TO TODAY’S INCIDENT IN THE SENATE CHAMBER
Today, some armed hoodlums led by suspended Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, walked into the Senate plenary and seized the symbol of authority of the Upper Legislative Chamber, the mace.
This action is an act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force, and it must be treated as such. All security agencies must stand on the side of due process and immediately mobilise their personnel to retrieve the mace and apprehend the mastermind and the perpetrators of this act.
This action is also an affront on the legislature, and the leadership of the House has come to express their support against this action.
The Senate is now in an Executive session.
An updated statement will be released immediately after the closed door session.
*Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi*