Scores of State Security Service, SSS, personnel have taken over the National Assembly ahead of a crucial House of Representatives sitting today, in an enhanced security operations one official said is aimed at denying the speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, access to the complex.
Mr. Tambuwal’s spokesperson told PREMIUM TIMES the move might be aimed at stopping the speaker.
PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately verify that claim.
Mr. Tambuwal angered the ruling government of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by defecting to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
The speaker adjourned the House shortly after his defection on October 28, and announced a resumption schedule for December in what was believed an attempt to frustrate any move by his former party to unseat him.
The PDP has the majority in the House.
The House announced this week it will reconvene Thursday to discuss President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to extend emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, where Boko Haram attacks have intensified.
Thursday’s plenary would be the first since Mr. Tambuwal’s defection.
On Tuesday, the Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, told PREMIUM TIMES his party, APC, expected the PDP to abide by a court ruling which that the status quo be maintained in the House, meaning the speaker retains his seat.
But early Thursday, a large contingent of SSS personnel took over the sprawling National Assembly complex and sealed off all entry points leaving only one open where everyone going in is thoroughly frisked and many, turned back.
The spokesperson for the Speaker, Imam Imam, told PREMIUM TIMES that move is likely aimed at stopping Mr. Tambuwal from entering the assembly to preside as speaker.
“All the entrances are locked and only one gate is used and everyone is totally frisked before being allowed in and only one person is allowed into the Assembly from any vehicle, others are asked to go back,” he said.
Mr. Imam however assured that Mr. Tambuwal will make it to the Assembly and preside over today’s sitting.