Home / Lead Story / Police arrest Omo-Agege; Senate resumes sitting with new Mace; Calls invasion of chambers, seizure of mace treason
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekeremadu (R) led by the Sergeant at Arms carrying a new Mace after plenary at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday (18/4/18).

Police arrest Omo-Agege; Senate resumes sitting with new Mace; Calls invasion of chambers, seizure of mace treason


Deputy Senate President Ike Ekeremadu (R) led by the Sergeant at Arms carrying a new Mace after plenary at the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday (18/4/18). The old Mace was cart away by hoodlums’ allegedly sponsored by suspended Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege on Wednesday.

By Cecilia Ijuo, Sheila offiong and Patience Aliyu

 The Police on Wednesday arrested suspended lawmaker, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta) at the National Assembly Complex.

The Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, Mr Sadiq Bello, led the team of policemen, who arrested the senator and whisked him away in a Hilux van with registration number NPF 840 at about 1.50 p.m.

Before he was taken away, Omo-Agege had told the police that the court had pronounced that the National Assembly “and specifically the Senate, has no power to suspend a senator for one day.

“I can’t be under arrest; for what purpose?’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Correspondent reports that Omo-Agege who was sighted in the Upper Chamber during the day’s plenary, was apprehended when he stepped out at the end of the session.

The Senate had on April 12, suspended the lawmaker over an alleged “dissenting comment’’ on decision of the chamber on adoption of conference report on INEC Act (2010) Amendment Bill.

The suspension, which would last for 90 legislative days, emanated from the report of the Committee on Ethics Privileges and Public Petitions presented at plenary.

Presenting the report, Chairman of the committee, Sen. Sam Anyanwu, said the committee’s probe followed a Point-of-Order raised by Sen. Dino Melaye (Kogi-APC) on the matter.

According to Anyanwu, Melaye drew Senate’s attention to a media briefing by Omo Agege, faulting senate’s adoption of the conference’s report on Feb.14.

He said that Melaye further intimated the senate that the media briefing by Omo-Agege indicated that the resolution of the senate was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

Anyanwu added that following the committee’s investigation into the matter, it was resolved among other things, that Omo-Agege be suspended for 181 legislative days.

The recommended suspension was later reduced to 90 legislative days by the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, while giving his remarks on the issue.

With suspension, Omo-Agege was expected to stay away from the national assembly, but his appearance at the assembly, and indeed, the Senate chamber, was against Section 22 of the Senate Standing Order (2015) as amended.

The section states that “a member of a Legislative House who has been suspended from the service of that House shall not enter or remain within the Chamber or precincts of the House in contravention of this section.

“He may be forcibly removed therefrom by any officer of the House and no proceedings shall lie in any court against such office in respect of such removal.’’

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the lawmaker came into the national assembly at the time suspected hoodlums invaded the Senate chamber and made away with the mace.

The Senate resumed plenary following the commotion that followed the invasion of its Chambers, shortly after coming out of an executive (closed door) session where the earlier incident of forceful removal of the mace was deliberated upon.
A statement by Sen. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, said that the session is holding with the mace, the official symbol of authority firmly in place, with Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, presiding.
He said that “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 hoodlums represents. The hoodlums severely attacked some members of staff of the National Assembly, particularly the Sergeant-at-Arms on Chamber duties.
“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“, the statement quoted Ekweremadu as saying.

Meanwhile, some residents of the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday condemned the illegal removal of the
mace from the Senate Chamber.

The mace is the symbol of authority in the two Chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The residents, who condemned the action in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), described it as a disgrace to the country.

The Senate plenary was on Wednesday disrupted after suspected thugs invaded the chamber and made away with the mace.

The incident happened shortly after Ovie Omo-Agege, entered the chamber.

The thugs, who had entered with the senator, 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.

The mace is the symbol of authority of the parliament.

One of the security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly said the thugs told him and other officers that they were with the senator.

“We tried to stop them but they told us they were with him (Omo-Agege),” he said.

Confirming the seizure of the mace by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the senate asserted that the seizure of the mace is an attempt to overthrow the arm of the federal government.

The senate called on all security agencies to immediately mobilize their personnel in order to retrieve the mace and arrest the Omo-Agege.

The Senate, in a statement issued by its spokesman Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, shortly after the incident, described the action as an act of treason.

The statement reads: “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.”

 

 

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