By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The mace which is the symbol of authority of the Senate was on Wednesday, snatched by some unidentified men.
Our correspondent at the National Assembly reports that the men barged into the Chamber of the Senate, during plenary, pushed away the Sergeant-at-Arms positioned at the entrance and carted away the mace.
It is unclear if the men have succeeded in leaving the National Assembly complex but at the time of this report, the mace has been taken away from the chamber.
The drama coincided with the protest at the National Assembly against the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, APC- Delta Central.
Yusuph Olaniyonu, the media adviser to Senate President said on a WhatsApp forum that an official statement will soon be issued.
Spokesperson of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, accused Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of masterminding the snatching of the mace.
He described the action as an attempt to overthrow an arm of government. He said it was treason.
“Today, some 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,” he said.
In an updated statement, Abdullahi Sabi said the Senate resumed plenary after coming out of the executive 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 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), Malam 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”, said Ekweremadu.