By Abiemwense Moru
A member of House of Representatives, Rep. Joseph Akinlaja (Ondo-PDP), has said Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu’s wisdom saved Nigeria a greater embarrassment on Wednesday.
Some hoodlums had on Wednesday broken into the Senate chamber while plenary was on, attacked some persons and made away with the mace.
But rather than panicking and scampering at different directions, Ekweremadu, who was presiding, ordered that a back-up mace be brought and continued with the session.
Akinlaja told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that Ekweremadu used common sense to avert further consequences over the incident.
According to him, the decision of the Senate to continue plenary is commendable.
He explained that the common sense displayed by the deputy president of the senate by not forcefully ejecting Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege from the chamber was unprecedented.
Omo-Agege, who is suspected to be instrumental to the invasion of the senate, also defied his suspension by the chamber on April 9 for 90 legislative days, by coming to sit at plenary after the incident.
“If Ekweremadu had asked him to go out yesterday or forcefully pulled him out, the senate chamber would have been divided and there would have been more chaos.
“By sitting inside the Senate chamber throughout the executive session and the rest of plenary showed that Omo Agege was out to disobey and confront the decision of the Senate, but the presiding officer was very wise.
“He allowed it in order not to create a scene or division on the floor. You know there will be some senators who are sympathetic to Omo-Agege and some, against him.
“What he did by sitting inside the senate chamber was the height of impunity,’’ Akinlaja said.
“When we had such a case in the House, the legislator served his term; then, he came back and was re-absorbed.
“Since then, we have been working together as if nothing happened.
“The action of Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was reprehensible. If your own class takes a decision against you, you have a right to obey and you also have a right to go to court.
“But, in most cases, you obey, but now, he has complicated the whole matter.
“Even, those who have sympathy for him cannot come out to defend him with this type of action.
“He cannot say he brought thugs to the place, but when the thugs are caught, they will tell who brought them.
“He has denied bringing the thugs, and that is why the police released him pending investigation, but I am not ready to speak about that now,” he added.
The lawmaker also said that a big lesson learnt from the invasion of the senate was to tighten security in the National Assembly.
“It was the height of negligence for people who were not members to enter the chambers.
“Even if the President of Nigeria is to enter any of the chambers, there must be a motion seeking the leave of the House for his entrance.
“The distance from the entrance of the chamber to the table where the mace was and the distance back was enough for counter reaction.
“Does it mean that our Sergeant-at-Arms do not have walkie-talkie? A single communication from the chambers to the gate would have saved the day.
“Even the three gates that they beat before getting away are unimaginable. They even had the guts to abduct a senator that was lucky to be dropped along the way.
“I recommend a beefing up of the security apparatus in the National Assembly.
“A legislator comes here to make law and he does not bear arms and the people meant to protect him do not bear arms either.
“On my part, I have removed arms from the name, Sergeant at Arms,” he said.