The Senate has urged the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General of Department of State Security (DSS) to recover its mace, forcefully removed at the chambers by suspected hoodlums on Wednesday.
The call followed a resolution by the lawmakers at the end of a closed-door session held immediately after the removal of the mace, the symbol of authority for the legislature.
Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, who announced the call on the security chiefs while presiding at plenary with another mace, said that the legislature would not be intimidated in any way.
He said that while the Upper Chamber was awaiting the “return’’ of the mace, it would continue with its legislative activities, adding that the lawmakers would not be terrified in carrying out their constitutional duties.
“This morning, we had an unusual incident at the chambers in the senate.
“At about 11.30, some armed thugs invaded the senate chambers, assaulted some of our staff and some of the media persons and forcefully took away the mace.
“They passed through the entrance and the gate and left the National Assembly with the mace. They attempted kidnapping two of our senators.
“They were eventually left, but we decided that we will not be intimidated by the circumstance. We will stand by and defend our democracy.
“We have decided to go through everything on our Order Paper for today even if it takes us till 6 p.m. We will conclude everything here because that is what we are being paid to do.
“We are going to get to the root of this matter, and I believe that I speak the mind of all of you here if I say that security agencies must recover our mace within 24 hours.
“We are giving the Inspector-General of Police and the Department of State Security (DSS) 24 hours to recover our mace,’’ he said.
Ekweremadu decried the incident and said that it was not only an affront on the senate, but on democracy.
He assured that the lawmakers would not be distracted, stressing that they would stand together while continuing with the assignment of representing Nigerians.
He thanked the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Yussuf Lasun, who led members of the chamber to the senate in solidarity over the incident.
In his remarks, Lasun assured senators of Representatives’ continued support, adding that they would not be deterred from carrying out their responsibilities.
“I have read a lot of books about representative democracy and what baffles me most is the fact that the ones that try to demean the institution of the assembly are pretenders to the institution of democracy.
“This means that once your assembly ceases to function or you ostracize or you want to muzzle it, definitely you are no longer practicing democracy.
“Due to the way some of us started practicing politics, a lot of Nigerian populace does not agree with the fact that we have to develop the institution of legislation, that it must be well strengthened.
“Once you do not do that you should as well forget about democracy.
“We decided to visit to show solidarity not with you alone, but to tell Nigerians that this assembly must make sure that democracy works in Nigeria.
“We are in solidarity with you and we will make a resolution to ensure that the mace is recovered within 24 hours,’’ he said.