UPDATE: Tambuwal’s loyalists overpower security operatives, smuggle him into chamber

Police fired teargas at the National Assembly Thursday as security operatives barred the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and as several of the speaker’s loyalists overpowered the security agents and smuggled him into the chamber

A large contingent of SSS personnel and police took over the sprawling complex early Thursday, and sealed off all entry points leaving only one open where everyone going in is thoroughly frisked and many, turned back.

Mr. Tambuwal had earlier managed to drive through the first gate of the complex before his convoy was stopped at the second gate.

After several minutes, Mr. Tambuwal was later allowed in after he abandoned his car and escort vehicles at the gate.

Other lawmakers, mainly from the All Progressives Congress, APC, were also stopped from driving through the second gate.

At least 15 APC lawmakers scaled the assembly fence to access the building, our correspondent at the assembly said.

Mr. Tambuwal was later stopped at the third gate, and was finally allowed in after a prolonged argument with security operatives.

Witnesses say lawmakers came out of the assembly, overpowered the security, and damaged the third gate to allow the speaker in.

There are reports some lawmakers fainted after inhaling teargas fired by the police.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed, told reporters at APC secretariat that security operatives prevented Mr. Tambuwal from gaining entrance into the National Assembly Complex.

“I spoke with speaker Aminu Tambuwal five minutes ago and he confirmed to me that he has been locked out of the National Assembly complex at the second gate,” Mr. Mohammed said.

The APC spokesperson also said while Mr. Tambuwal is disallowed from entering the complex, his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha is already allowed entrance and is in the chamber.

“The Speaker reconvene the House at the instance of the President who wrote a letter to the Speaker asking for an extension of the state of emergency in three states and now he is being ambushed and not allowed in, it is a sad development for our country

“There must be limit to impunity and we are being ridiculed in the eyes of the world,” Mr. Mohammed said.

Read our earlier report below:

The spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed,  has confirmed to journalists at the APC secretariat in Abuja that security operatives have prevented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, from gaining entrance into the National Assembly Complex.

“I spoke with speaker Aminu Tambuwal five minutes ago and he confirmed to me that he has been locked out of the National Assembly complex at the second gate,” Mr. Mohammed said.

The APC spokesperson also said while Mr. Tambuwal is disallowed from entering the complex, his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, is already in the chamber.

‎”The Speaker reconvene the House at the instance of the President who wrote a letter to the Speaker asking for an extension of the state of emergency in three states and now he is being ambushed and not allowed in, it is a sad development for our country

“There must be limit to impunity and we are being ridiculed in the eyes of the world.”

=======================

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 may 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.


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