The Senate was, yesterday, thrown into pandemonium, as the suspended senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ovie Omo-Agege, invaded the apex legislative chamber while in session with some thugs and carted away the mace.
This is just as Ghanaian parliamentarians who were on a visit to the National Assembly watched in awe the drama that played out in the Senate chambers.
Omo-Agege, who was accompanied into the chamber by five thugs, waited at the rear of the chamber while one of the thugs went straight to the table of the President of the Senate, where the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, was presiding and took away the mace and ran out.
Three of the thugs were in suit, one in caftan while the one who went and grabbed the mace was in T-shirt. The thugs were threatening through body motions to attack anybody standing in their way to stop them from taking away the Senate mace.
The ring leader of the gang, Omo-Agege, who was suspended last week for allegedly accusing the chamber falsely of plotting to frustrate President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid, remained in the chamber and fully observed the proceedings of the day to the end.
The entry into the Chamber by the suspended lawmaker was an affront on the Senate and in total contravention of the rules of the Senate pertaining to the conduct of a suspended member of the parliament.
According to the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2018 as amended, a suspended member is not supposed to enter the chamber or be seen within the precincts of the legislative house.
Section 22 of the Act says, “A member of a Legislative House who has been suspended from the service of that House shall not enter or remain within the Chamber or precincts of the House while such suspension remains in force, and, if any such member is found within the Chamber or precincts of the House in contravention of this section, he may be forcibly removed therefrom by any officer of the House and no proceedings shall lie in any court against such officer in respect of such removal.”
The invaders, who entered the chambers at about 11:30 a.m., shortly after plenary commenced, surprisingly beat the National Assembly security, the Sergeant-at-arms and carried out their well-coordinated plot.
It was after they had taken the mace and were ready to go that some personnel of the Sergeant-at-arms came struggling with the thugs, but they thoroughly overpowered the security and ran out of the chamber and took to their heels.
When they left the lobby of the White House, they left through the Villa Gate, as it was alleged that the main entrance gate to the National Assembly from the Federal Secretariat was locked.
The chamber, however, immediately went into executive session to avoid exposing their disgrace to some members of the public who were observing the proceedings from the gallery or the monitors located in some rooms at the legislative complex.
The closed session lasted for about 50 minutes, and when the lawmakers resumed plenary, Omo-Agege was still sited, seated in the Chamber.
He, however, did not make contributions to deliberations in the Chamber.
While the Senate was considering the items on the Order Paper, members of the House of Representatives, led by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Lasun, paid a solidarity visit to the Chamber, condemning the attack and pledging its total support to the apex Chamber.
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, to recover the mace within 24 hours.
The directive followed a resolution by the lawmakers at plenary shortly after its closed session and when the members of the House came to sympathise with their colleagues in the Red Chamber.
While addressing the gathering, Ekweremadu told the members of the lower chamber that the invaders attempted to kidnap two of its members but could not succeed.
He, however, did not mention the names of the senators that were to be abducted by the hoodlums.
But investigations carried out by our correspondent revealed that it was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Samuel Anyanwu and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, Solomon Adeola who were involved.