The Senate plenary was on Wednesday disrupted after suspected thugs invaded the chamber and made away with the mace.
The incident happened few seconds after a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, entered the chamber.
PREMIUM TIMES reporter observed that about 10 suspected thugs who came to the venue with the senator forced their entrance into the chamber.
Seconds later, the thugs ran out of the chamber with the mace causing pandemonium in the Senate.
They left the National Assembly with the mace in a black SUV.
The mace is the symbol of authority of the parliament.
One of the security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly said the thugs told him and other officers they were with the senator.
“We tried to stop them but they told us they were with him (Omo-Agege),” he said.
The senators are yet to reconvene as at the time of filing this report.
The Senate has accused a lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege, of leading hoodlums to seize the mace, which serves as the chamber’s symbol of authority.
In a statement after the incident on Wednesday, Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, said the incident is an act of treason.
Read the full statement below:
*RESPONSE TO TODAY’S INCIDENT IN THE SENATE CHAMBER*
Today, some armed hoodlums led by suspended Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, walked into the Senate plenary and seized the symbol of authority of the Upper Legislative Chamber, the mace.
This action is an act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force, and it must be treated as such. All security agencies must stand on the side of due process and immediately mobilise their personnel to retrieve the mace and apprehend the mastermind and the perpetrators of this act.
This action is also an affront on the legislature, and the leadership of the House has come to express their support against this action.
The Senate is now in an Executive session.
An updated statement will be released immediately after the closed door session.
*Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi*
UPDATED: Senate resumes plenary with replacement mace
The Senate has resumed plenary about an hour after thugs stole its symbol of authority, the mace.
The lawmakers appear to have secured a replacement mace which is being used for the plenary.
The thugs, who stormed the Senate chamber on Wednesday morning, are believed to have been led by a suspended lawmaker Ovie Omo-Agege.
The Senate has already accused Mr Omo-Agege of leading the thugs who went away with the mace in a black SUV.
Mr Omo-Agege was suspended for 90 days after accusing his colleagues of working against the interest of President Muhammadu Buhari.
After the thugs left, the Senate went into an executive session after which it announced it was starting plenary.
The plenary is being presided by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Sabi Abdullahi, the senate spokesperson, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES said “The Senate has mandated the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Kpotum Ibrahim and Director General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mallam Lawan Daura, to retrieve the mace stolen by the hoodlums within 24 hours.”
“At the moment, some House of Representives members led by Deputy Speaker. Hon. Yusuf Lasun, are in the Senate chambers in solidarity visits. The session is presently live on NTA Channel 10.
“We are determined to conclude all matters slated on the Order Paper for today, even if it means us sitting until 6 p.m.,” the spokesperson quoted Mr Ekweremadu as saying.
BREAKING: Mace Theft: Police arrest Senator Omo-Agege
The police on Wednesday afternoon arrested suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, at the National Assembly premises.
Mr Omo-Agege was whisked away in a black hilux van at about 1:54 p.m.
The arrest is in connection to the theft of the Senate mace, hours earlier.
Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, accused the senator of leading hoodlums to the Senate chamber to seize the mace.
Mr Omo-Agege after the incident returned to the chamber.
APC speaks on attack on Senate, theft of mace
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the theft of the Senate mace by thugs on Wednesday morning.
“The APC hereby condemns this action and views it as an attack on our democracy and a desecration of the hallowed institution of the National Assembly,” the party said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES
“We therefore call on security agencies to take all necessary actions to recover the stolen mace and ensure that the perpetrators and their sponsors are brought to justice.”
The thugs are believed to have been sponsored by a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, a member of the APC.
Mr Omo-Agege was later arrested by the police after he returned to the Senate chamber following the theft.