Police Return Stolen Mace To Senate

The mace, which was stolen from the Senate on Wednesday, has been returned.

The mace was stolen from the Senate chamber by some hoodlums believed to be working for a senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, on Wednesday.

The Senate in reaction to the theft gave security agencies 24 hours to find the stolen mace.

The police in the early hours of Thursday claimed the mace was found under a bridge in Abuja.

Hours after this announcement, the police brought the mace to the National Assembly.

At about 11:50 a.m., a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Habila Joshak, handed over the mace to the clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

The Senate is yet to comment on the return as the lawmakers are currently in a closed-door session.

Senate’s Stolen Mace Recovered Under Bridge In Abuja – Police

The Nigeria Police Force said the Mace forcefully taken away by men suspected to be thugs during plenary of the Senate on Wednesday has been recovered.

Deputy Force Spokesman, SP Aremu Adeniran, said that the mace was abandoned under the flyover before the city gate in Abuja where a passerby saw it and alerted the police.

According to him, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris had ordered the FCT Police Command to beef-up security at the National Assembly.

He said that investigation into the incident was still ongoing to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The deputy spokesman commended Abuja residents, especially motorists, for their cooperation during the rigorous stop and search operation for the recovery of the mace.

Adeniran said that the commitment of the police to guarantee the protection of lives and property and sustain democracy in the country remained unequivocal and unwavering.

The National Assembly had given the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and Daura Lawal, the Director General of Department of State Services (DSS) 24 hours to recover the mace.

This resolution was made during a joint session of both chambers of National Assembly hurriedly convened at the instance of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, over the incident.

Ekweremadu was presiding over the Senate session when the symbol of authority was taken away by yet to be identified thugs.

At the joint session, he briefed lawmakers how the armed thugs stormed the Senate chamber in a commando style, beat up the Sargent At Arms who tried to stop them and even tried to kidnap two senators before they made away with the mace.

He asked the police boss, Ibrahim Idris and Director General of DSS, Lawal Daura to go after the invaders and ensure that the mace is recovered.

He described the incident as an affront to the parliament and democracy, just as he vowed to get to the root of the matter.

Ekweremadu and other senators tactically escaped through the emergency doors in order not to be caught up in the melee.

The Senate, in a statement by its spokesperson, Sabi Aliyu, said the thugs who seized the maze were led by a suspended Senate, Mr. Ovie Omo-Agege.

The Senate asserted that the seizure of the mace is an attempt to overthrow the legislative arm of government.

Senator Omo Agege was later arrested at the premises of the National Assembly by a team of police officers led by FCT Commissioner of Police, Sadiq Abubakar Bello.

But a lawyer working with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege denied reports that he was the one behind the theft of the mace at the Senate on Wednesday.

The lawyer also said the senator did not encourage anyone to remove the mace.

The lawyer who identified himself as Barrister Lucky Ajos said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening that contrary to insinuations, the suspended senator went to the National Assembly to work as required of him by the constitution.

Ajos said when Omo-Agege arrived at the National Assembly, some senators tried to send him away from the Senate while some welcomed him warmly.

He said, “A few champions of the unconstitutional, invalid and tyrannical suspension tried to stop him, but those who opposed it welcomed and protected him throughout the sitting.”

Denying reports that Omo-Agege incited some people to steal the mace, Ajos stated that the allegation was wrong and not true at all.

The lawyer also condemned the statement issued by the Senate Spokesperson, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, while promising to study the statement and take proper actions.

“Without any investigation, Senator Sabi willfully, deliberately and unfairly made very serious allegations against Senator Omo-Agege on the Mace incident. We are carefully studying Senator Sabi’s allegations to ascertain their full ramifications.”

Stressing the innocence of Omo-Agege on the mace affair, Ajos said the police only took the Senator away to hear his side of the story and he has since been released.

The Senate had resorted to the use of a ‘replacement mace’ to conclude the plenary on Wednesday after thugs took away the original mace.

Ghanian Lawmakers Witness Mace Theft Drama At Senate Plenary

Lawmakers from Ghana were on a visit to the National Assembly on Wednesday when the hoodlums invaded the Senate chamber and stole the mace.

The Ghanaians, who were also as confused as the Nigerians scampering to safety, watched in amazement.

They entered the House and sat at the gallery to observe proceedings as members debated the invasion.

Gbajabiamila, feeling embarrassed that the visitors saw what played out, apologised to them on behalf of the National Assembly.

“It is unfortunate that we have visitors from Ghana, who are on a parliamentary visit to Nigeria.

“We apologise because this is not usually how our legislature operates,” he added.

A member from Anambra State, Mr. Gabriel Onyenwife, supported the motion, calling the invaders terrorists.

He spoke more, “The National Assembly is under a terrorist attack; that is the appropriate description.

“If the legislature is no more, what is the fate of democracy? Today, it is the mace, it could have been a senator or a member that the terrorists came to attack.

“The security personnel in the National Assembly must explain the role they played in this saga.”

A lawmaker from Osun State, Prof. Mojeed Alabi, captured the invasion as a “failed coup”, that should be meted with the appropriate penalty for coups.

“There is punishment for a coup, a failed coup.

“The punishment for this invasion should be the same punishment for coup plotters”, Alabi said.

More members spoke in support of the motion, condemning the attack.

Police Arrest Senator Omo-Agege Over Mace Theft

Men of the Nigeria Police arrested Senator Ovie Omo-Agege immediately after the plenary.

The lawmaker was suspended by the Senate for 90 days last week. He, however, attended the plenary today.

The Senate had accused him of leading the armed men who stormed the chamber and snatched the mace while plenary was on.

After the plenary, policemen ushered Omo-Agege from the door of the chamber into a waiting pickup van.

Nigerians On Twitter React To News Of Stolen Mace During Plenary

Nigerians have taken to Twitter to express disgust over the news of hoodlums who invaded the Senate and stole the mace.

Nigerians who were in disbelief and amazement could not but wonder how hoodlums would have entered the National Assembly premises despite the strict security in place.

Here are some of their comments on Twitter:

The Great Oracle@AbdulMahmud01

The mace has been taken away by hoodlums from the Senate? How did it happen?

If you’ve been to NASS you’ll know how difficult to get in

Sumner Shagari Sambo@Sumner_Sambo

Update:

NIGERIAN SENATE IN DISARRAY AS MACE STOLEN

VIDEO of Nigeria Senate @NGRSenate in disarray as thugs led by suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege stole mace while plenary was on and presided by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. Sgt at arms wounded, taken to hospital

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Thugs disrupt Senate plenary, run away with mace

Mrs_E.@MzEndowd

Isn’t it so ridiculous that gunmen stormed the National Assembly and made away with the mace amidst all those “high level” of security?! Na wah o!

El hadj!@Dappy_Smq

The stealing of the mace from the National Assembly today by thugs is a disgrace on our country Nigeria. Can we now truly say the country is finished?

?? BLESSED NIGERIAN@DejiAdesogan

ON MY RADAR: Commotion in National Assembly today as hoodlums reportedly loyal to suspended Delta Senator Omo-Agege invaded Senate chamber, seize Mace. Security heighten around NASS. @Gidi_Traffic

Frank Castle ✨@makingcheddah

Cee C is frustrating Tobi and viewers.

Thugs have stolen Mace at the National Assembly.

What a time to be a Nigerian!

Musbau Olalekan@olaleksceo

National Assembly… Theatre of DRAMA… Kwantinew

EGO@joy_mark25

A whole National Assembly was attacked by thugs and they escaped.

Daddy D.O??@DOlusegun

What is going on in NASS? Hearing hoodlums stole the mace while house was in session

Nigerian Senate Recovers Mace, Resumes Sitting

The Senate mace snatched few minutes ago on Wednesday has been recovered as the hallowed chamber resumed sitting.

On resumption, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who was presiding, vowed that the Senate would never be intimidated in carrying out the constitutional duties for which they were voted.

‘Dear colleagues, let us resume sitting and finish our business of the day even if we stay here till 6:00pm.

“We shall never be intimidated by the anti-democracy and we shall do our best to defend our democracy and our mandate,” Ekweremadu assured.

As at the time of filing this report, the upper chamber is in session.

Hoodlums Invasion, Mace Snatching Act Of Treason – Senate

The Senate has accused a lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege, of leading hoodlums to seize the mace, which serves as the chamber’s symbol of authority.

In a statement after the incident on Wednesday, Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, said the incident is an act of treason.

Read the full statement below:

*RESPONSE TO TODAY’S INCIDENT IN THE SENATE CHAMBER*

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.

The Senate is now in an Executive session.

An updated statement will be released immediately after the closed door session.

*Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi*
   SENATE’S SPOKESPERSON

JUST IN: Thugs Invade Senate, Whisk Away Maze

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

The incident happened few seconds after a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, entered the chamber.

Journalists covering the session observed that about 10 suspected thugs who came to the venue with the senator forced their entrance into the chamber.

Seconds later, the thugs ran out of the chamber with the maze causing pandemonium in the Senate.

They left the National Assembly with the maze in a black SUV.

The maze 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 they were with the senator.

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

The senators are yet to reconvene as at the time of filing this report.

$462m Helicopter Purchase: Senate Summons Adeosun, Emefiele

The Senate has invited the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (retd.); and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, over alleged illegal withdrawal of $462m from the Consolidated Revenue Account.

The money was said to have been withdrawn and paid to an American firm for the purchase of helicopters. It was, however, alleged that it was done with the approval of the National Assembly.

At the plenary on Tuesday, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo-East) raised a point of order, alleging that Section 80(2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution had been breached.

Anyanwu said, “I have it on good authority that in March 2018, from the Federation Account, a whopping sum of $462m was withdrawn and paid for (the purchase of) helicopters to an American firm. And this is without the approval of the National Assembly or the Senate.

“I know that there was no time when there was any request (for approval) from this Senate before any withdrawal from the Consolidated Federation Account.

“I, therefore, as a senator, want us to find out if that thing (withdrawal) was done.

“I will request and suggest we invite the CBN governor, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Defence to tell us how this money was withdrawn and paid to an American company — a whopping $462m — without the approval of this Senate.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, put the request to voice vote and it was unanimously granted.

Ekweremadu referred the matter to the Committee on Appropriations, asking it to invite the ministers and the CBN governor.

“The Appropriations Committee should invite the three: the Minister of Finance, the CBN governor and the Minister of Defence to shed light on the release,” he said.

 

Electoral Act Amendment: Senate Suspends Senator Omo-Agege

The Senate has suspended a senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, for accusing his colleagues of working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election plans in 2019.

Mr Omo-Agege in February accused his colleagues of working against Mr Buhari by adopting the amendment to section 25 of electoral act outlining a change in the sequence of elections.

Mr. Omo-Agege had said: “For some of you who are familiar with what transpired in the House of Reps, only 36 members were on the floor when this so-called amendment to section 25 of the Electoral Act was introduced.

The position we took is that 36 people cannot determine the destiny of 360 people in the House (of Reps), which is now being carried over to 109 in the Senate. The least we are owed is for this so-called amendment to be deliberated upon and our rule is clear.

“We have 59 senators who are opposed to the inclusion of section 25 of the Electoral Act. If that division was allowed today, 59 senators would have voted to delete that purported amendment to section 25.

“You don’t make a law targeted at one person. The perception out there is that this Section 25 was included to target Mr. President.”

A week after, Dino Melaye, (Kogi-APC), drew the attention of the Senate specifically to the comments made by Mr. Omo-Agege on the election sequence.

The matter was referred to the committee on ethics and privileges to investigate.

Presenting the report on Thursday, the chairman of the committee, Sam Anyanwu, recommended 180 days of suspension.

He said the punishment was imperative because the senator took the issue to court after it was referred to the committee.

The days of suspension was however reduced to 90 on pleas by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Kaduna Govt Blames Politics For Rejection Of Its $350m Loan Request

Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasiru El-Rufai, has described the lawmakers’ rejection of the World Bank loan as politically motivated.

El Rufai stated while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday in Kaduna, the state capital.

“It was pure selfish politics. I am disappointed that the Senate did not approve the loan but in some ways, it was expected,” he said. “We are not dealing with people that appreciated the economic impact. When we made a presentation to the Senate Committee, they said our presentation is the best of all the states yet politics and perverse incentives kicked in.”

 

The state government had requested a $350 million loan from the World Bank last year and was granted approval in a bid to support its Development Policy Operations (DPO).

But four months after this, the Senate rejected the loan based on the purported recommendation of its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts and the three senators from the estate.

In the report, which was presented by Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shehu Sani, it was recommended that the facility is disapproved as it would worsen the debt profile of the state.

While admitting that the state was burdened with huge debt, the governor, however, gave the assurance that its financial viability cannot be questioned.

He added, “Kaduna State may be the second most indebted state in the country, but we are fiscally sound. So there is really no risk in taking this loan and even those that rejected it know it.

“Within the two years we have taken office, we have tripled our Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) collections per month and it is going up.”

Despite the setback, it seems the state government is not deterred at all in its quest for development. This is even as the governor has promised to avail other options at his disposal.