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SENATE ORDERS SECURITY OFFICIALS TO BLOCK OMO-AGEGE FROM CHAMBER

Following the recent mace theft, hullabaloo in the senate house, and suspension of senator Ovie Omo- Agege, the Senate has directed security agencies to prevent the suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege from further gaining entrance into its chamber.

Omo-Agege, who was last week suspended by the Senate for dragging the upper legislative chamber to court on the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010, had attended plenary on Wednesday. He was, however, absent on Thursday.

The lawmaker’s emergence at the chamber had occurred same time when suspected thugs invaded the Senate chamber while plenary was ongoing and made away with the mace.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Friday, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, disclosed that the sergeants-at-arm and security personnel had been ordered to block the lawmaker whenever he tries to enter the chamber.

Murray-Bruce was also informed that Omo-Agege had dismissed his suspension as illegal and that he would continue to participate in legislative activities.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said the attack on the Senate on Wednesday called for a “rethink” of Nigeria’s security structure.

He pointed out that the invasion and theft showed that the country’s security had broken down, describing the attack as an embarrassment to Nigeria before the international community.

Ekweremadu said this when he received the leadership of the Nigerian Political Science Association which paid a solidarity visit to the Senate, according to a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu.

He said, “It is an embarrassment to Nigeria before the international community, for someone to drive all the way into the National Assembly Complex, enter the hallowed chamber, and cart away its symbol of authority.

“It shows a breakdown of security and it is a setback to Nigeria’s drive for foreign investment, because no one would be ready to invest money in such a system. So, it is a lesson that we cannot keep doing the same thing with our security system and expect a different result.

“It is also an irony that the people involved would organise armed bandits to rob the Senate of its mace since they understand the implication of what they have done. As a parliament, we will ensure that this does not happen again and insist that all the actors behind the drama are brought to book.”

The Deputy Senate President enjoined the association to help the nation to rethink its governance and security structures in line with other federal systems.

President of the NPSA, Prof. Aloysius-Michaels Okolie, who led the delegation, said the association was at the National Assembly to solidarise with the Senate and condemn the incident.

He said, “Our association is non-partisan. But we must speak the truth, stand by the truth and protect the truth. Any group or person that perpetrated what we saw live on national television needs to have his head examined.

“A normal person cannot come here and desecrate the National Assembly, let alone infringe on the mace. It was not really an assault on the National Assembly, but the entire people you have been mandated to represent.

“The desecration of this hallowed chamber is so grave an event that it calls for an immediate national action to avert a repeat and to bring the culprits, who we regard as bandits, to book.”

Okolie stated that the association joined other progressive forces in the country to demand justice.

“We demand the immediate prosecution of the actors involved. This matter goes beyond the cliché of being on top of the situation.

“We want to see people we put in this place as our representatives conduct their affairs in a manner devoid of any intimidation or any fear so that the best will come out of this hallowed chamber,” he said.

Omo-Agege had exclusively told The PUNCH on Wednesday that he would continue to work as a senator.

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