The invasion of the hallowed chamber of the Senate by hoodlums who carted away the mace and other paraphernalia of authority is a violation of the sanctity of the Senate and constitutes a threat to our democracy, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has said.
The mace was forcefully taken from the Senate chamber by some hoodlums believed to be working for a senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, on Wednesday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the complicity of security agencies in the theft.
But, the Senate, in reaction to the theft, gave security agencies 24 hours to find the stolen mace.
The police in the early hours of Thursday claimed the mace was found under a bridge in Abuja.
Hours after this announcement, the police brought the mace to the National Assembly
In a statement signed by the president of the union, Ayuba Wabba, and made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the president said stolen mace represents a throw-back to those dark old days we are better off without
According to the statement, “it is a sad commentary on the quality of representation.
“We therefore condemn it in its entirety. We similarly invite all who love Nigeria to rise and condemn this crude and sordid act or conduct”, the statement highlighted.
The statement said the Senate, from the days of the Greeks and Romans from whom the world borrowed this concept of democracy, has always been a sacred arena for the nobility.
According to the statement, “As a house packed full of representatives from different parts of the Republic, there are bound to be differences (of opinion, tactics, strategy) and even conflicts but these are expected to be resolved in a dignified manner befitting of men and women of character and learning!”
The labour union said there are rules of engagement that every member is made to understand as a precondition to swearing in while referring to the stolen mace saga as a big anomaly.
The group said the National Assembly Security should be called to question for laxity or compromise.
“They have often distinguished themselves by keeping at bay constituents and peaceful protesters from the precincts of the National Assembly, (however), these thugs seem to have walked on a laid red carpet”, the statement reads.
“Could these agencies have been acting alone? What is the degree of their complicity? Which ever way, we condemn this primitive conduct and demand sanctions. Let it never happen again. There are better methods no matter the issues,” he concluded.
In its reaction, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) described the invasion as a dastardly act and inimical to democratic norms and values.
The union called for proper investigation into how suspected thugs got unhindered access into the Senate.
In a statement signed by its National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman, the union said most politicians have forgotten the implications of such disruptions.
“We consider the invasion and disruption of the proceedings of the Senate by thugs today as inimical to democratic norms and values.
“Paralysing parliamentary sessions and seizing of the mace which is a symbol of office or authority is a favourite pastime of most aggrieved members of the National and State Assemblies, for whatever reason.
“We note with regret that most politicians have lost the sensibility to understand the cost implication of such disruptions, especially as loss of time through pandemoniums translates into substantial loss of public money,” the union stated.
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