Following an early morning incident in which unidentified men described as ‘hoodlums’, led by suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, broke into and forcefully removed the symbol of authority of the legislature, the mace, the Nigerian Senate has responded to the events surrounding the attack with a brief statement.
The Senate, after a brief period of commotion, resumed session with the mace apparently having been retrieved, according to Senate Spokesman Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
The Senate statement reads:
“The Senate has resumed plenary about 15 minutes ago after coming out of an executive (closed door) session where the earlier incident of forceful removal of the mace was deliberated upon.
“The session is holding with the mace, the official symbol of authority firmly in place, and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, presiding.
“The Senate also decided that it will get to the roots of this sad assault on democracy and an obvious act of treason which the seizure of the mace by some armed hodlums represents.
“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.
“At the moment, some House of Representatives members led by Deputy Speaker. Hon. Yusuf Lasun, are in the Senate chambers in solidarity visits. The session is presently live on NTA Channel 10.
“‘We are determined to conclude all matters slated on the Order Paper for today, even if it means us sitting until 6pm’, says Ekweremadu.
Another statement, signed by Abdullahi, further related the incident and the actions taken afterwards. The action of seizing the mace is described as an act of treason, according to the Senate Spokesperson and has been referred to security agencies.
“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 mobilize 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.