Days after the invasion of the upper National Assembly by suspected thugs, the senate have resolved to review the operations of its sergeant-at-arms and proposed the use of access cards to the complex.
This is coming 24 hours after thugs purportedly linked to suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta) broke into the complex and took away the Senate’s mace during plenary.
As gathered, two options are being considered by the leadership of the legislature in an effort to tighten the security around the complex. The decision was taken at a closed session of the Senate which held from 11.07am to 12.13pm.
Sources said that the options would be tabled before the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday.
It was gathered that while the meeting was on, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi) changed the direction of the meeting from the review of the security to the activities of the members of the Parliamentary Support Group (PSG), a pro-President Muhammadu Buhari association.
“Melaye said there was a meeting of the PSG at the residence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu yesterday (Wednesday), hours after the mace was taken away. He told us what transpired at the meeting,” the source said.
The source said it was after he (Melaye) spoke that a Senator from Zamfara State stood up and said he got a text message from the secretary of the PSG, inviting him to the meeting.
On Wednesday, the mace of the Senate was taken away around the same time when the secretary of the PSG, Omo-Agege sauntered into the Senate chamber.
We can’t be disbanded – Pro-Buhari group
An invitation for the meeting via text message purportedly by Omo-Agege reads: “You are simply invited for an urgent meeting of PSG holding today Wednesday, 18th at the residence of Distinguished Senator Abdullahi Adamu. Signed Secretary.”
A former governor who also spoke at the session said the PSG cannot be disbanded.
“Right to freedom of association and speech are constitutional matters and as such PSG stands,” the former governor said.
Daily Trust gathered that at the end of the session, no resolution was taken on the PSG, aside the one taken last week.
Senate: IGP, DG DSS to appear next week
The Senate yesterday also summoned the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris over the invasion of the Senate.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary said at the end of the closed session that the two security chiefs are to appear next week.
“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 are 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,” he said.
Ekweremadu said the incident had also brought to the fore the case many, including himself, had continued to make for a decentralised police system.
“Ordinarily, a big institution like the National Assembly should have its own police, apart from the sergeants-at-arms, the security of this parliament is fully outside the control of the National Assembly,” he said.
“Ugly and provocative as the event of yesterday (Wednesday) 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,” Ekweremadu he said.
He vowed that the Senate would never be intimidated, insisting that Senate “will never fear to legislate; and we will never legislate out of fear”.
A source close to the leadership of the Senate said the policemen and DSS operatives who were on duty when the thugs invaded the Senate would be invited to state their roles during the appearance of the IGP and DSS boss next week.
“There are allegations that superior forces asked the DSS operatives and the policemen on the ground to compromise when the thugs invaded the chamber. They will be grilled next week in the presence of their bosses,” he said.
Stolen mace returned
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, Habila Joshak returned the Senate mace.
Joshak handed over the mace to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori around 11.50am.
The handing over was done when the senators were in the closed session. Ekweremadu confirmed that the Mace has been returned.