Mace Theft: ‘I Won’t Answer Your Questions’ – Defiant Omo-Agege Tells Panel

Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator representing Delta central, refused to testify before an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly probing

Ovie Omo-Agege, a senator representing Delta central, refused to testify before an ad hoc committee of the National Assembly probing the theft of the senate mace.

Speaking when he appeared before the committee on Tuesday, May 22, 2018,  the lawmaker said he would not speak because the matter is in court.

He listed Senate President Bukola Saraki and Bala Na’Allah, the chairman of the committee, as defandants of the suit.

“Ordinarily, I will love to take these opportunity to respond to the allegations raised but I am here to inform you that I have gone to court and parties have been served,” the senator said.

“The action was taken on May 21, 2018, and all the parties enumerated have been served.”

On his part, Na’Allah said he could not be served by his office.

“I cannot be served by my office. You should know this,” he said.

“I have no problem receiving service. Maybe due to my inadequate knowledge of the law. The service has to be personal.”

Shehu Sani, a senator representing Kaduna central and a member of the committee, asked Omo-Agege to defend his actions.

“I came here to hear a revolutionary speech to defend your actions. If he is not ready to speak, we should not sit here and be gisting on other issues,” he said.

On her part, Betty Apiafi, co-chair of the committee and lawmaker of the house of representatives, said section 62 of constitution does not stop them from investigating the matter.

But Omo-Agege stood his ground, citing order 3(5) of the senate standing order.

The order restricts the senate from probing a case that is in court.

But Na’Allah argued that there is nothing illegal about investigating the allegations levelled against the Delta senator yet Omo-Agege refused to comment on the issue.

On his part, Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, who was accused of being complicit in the mace theft, denied any wrong doing.

He recommended the overhauling of the security architecture of the national assembly.

“I didn’t know we were that exposed. For me to prevent someone from taking the mace [to safety]. I don’t have any authority to do that,” Ndume said.

“That day it was only thugs and everyone ran to the tea room.”

Read more at Premium Times

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Senators Omo-Agege, Ndume Summoned By National Assembly Panel Over Mace Theft

Ovie Omo-Agege and Ali Ndume were on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, invited by the joint Senate and House of Representatives

Ovie Omo-Agege and Ali Ndume were on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, invited by the joint Senate and House of Representatives panel investigating the invasion of the red chamber and snatching of its mace.

Bala Ibn Na’Allah, the Chairman of the committee,  said the testimonies given by various security personnel at the National Assembly Complex before the panel had implicated Omo-Agege and Ndume.

Senator Ndume, according to the summons, allegedly prevented the mace keeper from taking away the mace to safety, while On Omo-Agege, according to the Divisional Police Officer, the Department of State Services and the sergeant-at-arms, allegedly entered the National Assembly accompanied by seven persons, who allegedly took the mace of the Senate during the plenary session on April 18, 2018, at about 11:30 am.

“All those who testified stated that the said people were cleared into the chamber based on your confirmation that they were with you,” Na’Allah said.“The committee, pursuant to this, has deemed it necessary to formally invite you to respond to these allegations on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at 11:00 am.”

Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, had on Tuesday last week inaugurated the ad hoc committee, noting that there were reports that those who attacked the Senate were led by a serving senator. Recall that the DPO, National Assembly Division, Abdul Sulu-Gambari, during his appearance before the panel last week, had accused the lawmakers of conspiracy in the attack.

Read more at Premium Times

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Police DPO Blames Mace Theft On ‘Internal Conspiracy’

The Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, CSP Sulu-Gambari Abdul, has blamed the April 18th invasion of the Senate

The Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, CSP Sulu-Gambari Abdul, has blamed the April 18th invasion of the Senate and theft of the mace by hoodlums on internal conspiracy.

Abdul said this on Wednesday during an investigative hearing into the incident by a joint ad hoc committee of the Senate and House of Representatives.

According to him, what happened at the National Assembly was an act of internal conspiracy among some security agencies and some lawmakers. He noted that there was no communication from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the National Assembly during the invasion by the thugs.

READ ALSO: IGP Fails To Appear Before Senate For Third Time

“On April 18, at about 11 a.m., my attention was drawn to a group protesting at the gate, and while I moved to address the group, I was informed that some people were running away with the mace.

“I signalled all the entry points that nobody drives in or out but three men approached me identifying themselves as security operatives and requested to be allowed to go.

“The strain of blood on their clothes made me suspicious and I ordered their arrest. In all, six people were arrested same day and handed over to the Force Headquarters alongside charms recovered from them.

“In addition, an unmarked Prado jeep and a Toyota Hilux were impounded and they are with the police,” he said.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Bala Ibn N’allah in response said the Police should provide the committee with copies of the station diary where entry of the crime was made.

He also directed that the committee should be given copies of the crime routine diary, pictures of those arrested and the transfer register explaining where the invaders were transferred to.

Senate Plenary was on Wednesday, April 18 disrupted by some hoodlums who stormed the Upper House and snatched the mace from the chamber.

The Red Chamber consequently issued a statement in which it condemned the incident as an act of treason and an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force.

It also accused the lawmaker representing Delta Central senatorial district, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, claiming he led the hoodlums to plenary to seize the symbol of authority of the Senate.

Senator Omo-Agege was later picked up by the police on the premises of the complex, although he has since denied any involvement in the theft of the mace and freed from police custody.

The police later recovered the mace under the flyover and returned it Senate, about 24 hours after some hoodlums invaded the Red Chamber.

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Mace Theft: National Assembly tightens security

The Nigerian National Assembly has tightened security in its premises following last Wednesday’s invasion of the Senate by unknown persons

The Nigerian National Assembly has tightened security in its premises following last Wednesday’s invasion of the Senate by unknown persons who took away its mace.

This was evident from the numerous security checks and questioning from different security officers from the main entrance of the National Assembly to the main building.

The Senate’s plenary was on Wednesday invaded by thugs believed to be led by suspended lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the complicity of security agencies in the incident.

The mace was recovered the following day by the police hours later, following a 24-hour ultimatum from the Senate.

This step to tighten security was also the resolution of the Senate at an executive session on Tuesday.

The closed door meeting lasted for over two and a half hours and had most of the lawmakers in attendance, presided over by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Mr Saraki, after the session, explained the reasons for the decision as he called for the full cooperation of the public.

“Clearly, there are some loopholes here and we need to tighten it,” he said.

He further stated that a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives had been set up “to investigate the incident of the 18th of April, to look at the factors leading to it and to ensure that such never happens again at the National Assembly.

“We also directed our committee on security, intelligence and police to engage with the Director of the SSS and the Inspector-General of Police to look at how to strengthen the security of the National Assembly to ensure that these security lapses will not occur.”

The Chamber of the Nigerian Senate

The senate president, on behalf of the Senate appreciated two staff of the chamber, “Chuks and Sandra” (who were injured during the invasion), for their gallantry and the courageous actions that they took during the invasion of the Senate chamber on Wednesday, April, 18, 2018 as he wished them speedy recovery.”

He further thanked the team of the Sergeant-at-Arms for the work they did not only as individuals but as an institution also for the country, adding that “this legislature is a true representation of democracy and as long as we defend this legislature, we defend the democracy in this country.”

Senate Invasion, A Message To Legislative Houses – Falana

File photo: Femi Falana   A human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, believes the invasion

Senate Invasion, A Message To Legislative Houses – Falana
File photo: Femi Falana

 

A human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, believes the invasion of the Senate has passed a message across to the National Assembly and other legislative bodies in the country.

Mr Falana said this on Wednesday during an exclusive interview with Channels Television, hours after some hoodlums stormed the Upper Chamber, disrupted proceedings, and made away with the mace.

READ ALSOPolice Recover Stolen Mace After Senate Invasion

Condemning the incident, the Red Chamber accused a suspended member, Senator Omo-Agege, of leading the hoodlums to plenary to seize its symbol of authority.

The police had consequently arrested Senator Omo-Agege, although the lawmaker has since denied any involvement in the theft of the mace and the invasion of the Upper House.

Falana, in his reaction, said, “I think the National Assembly leadership and all the legislative houses in the country are being told that they must learn to operate under the law and not above the law.”

Police Arrest Senator Omo-Agege Over Stolen Mace

Explaining further, he noted that the invasion of the Upper House has proven that no legislative house can suspend or remove a member except a court or the constituency that elected such lawmaker.

The lawyer, however, condemned the incident and stressed that the National Assembly must get to the root of the incident and ensure the stolen mace was recovered.

He said the invasion implied that the proceedings of the Senate would stand suspended until the mace was produced, adding that it would be dangerous to produce another one.

Senator Omo-Agege Denies Involvement In Senate Invasion, Mace Theft

The Senate had issued a statement shortly after the incident occurred, describing the invasion as an act of treason and an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force.

Barely 24 hours after the incident, the police revealed said they have recovered the stolen mace after the National Assembly ordered the heads of the police and the Department of State Service (DSS) to recover the mace within.

According to the police in a statement on Thursday, the hoodlums abandoned the mace at a point under the flyover before the City Gate in Abuja, where a passer-by saw it and alerted them.

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‘Big Shame’: Nigerians React To Senate Invasion, Mace Theft

News that some hoodlums stormed the Senate on Wednesday to steal the mace has sparked various reactions. Some Nigerians took

News that some hoodlums stormed the Senate on Wednesday to steal the mace has sparked various reactions.

Some Nigerians took to social media to pass hilarious comments and mock the incident while others lament how the symbol of authority will be stolen in broad daylight.

The Senate in reaction had earlier condemned the incident and accused the Senator representing Delta Central District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of leading the thugs to steal the mace.

Omo-Agege was thereafter arrested by the police.

Some Nigerians in their reactions on social media hailed Omo-Agege’s action while others described it as a show of shame.

 

Read the hilarious and mocking comments below:

 

 

Some Nigerian, however, did not find the incident funny. Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose described it as a show of shame while Senator Shehu Sani said the action is treasonable and an attempted coup de tat. Others lamented over the incident wondering how the hoodlums made their way into the Red Chambers despite security.

Read more tweets below…

 

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