26th November, 2014
The Senate on Wednesday set up a seven-man committee to investigate the Thursday’s security breach at the National Assembly by security operatives.
The Senate President, David Mark, who presided over plenary, said it was necessary to carry out an investigation into the matter in order to prevent a recurrence.
He promised to continue to defend the sanctity of the National Assembly and democracy. “What we want is to strengthen democracy in this country and whatever price we pay or whatever sacrifice we make to strengthen democracy, we will do so.
“We are appointing Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi as the Chairman, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu as member, Victor Lar as member, Safiu Adegbenga Kaka as member, Paulinus Igwe as member, Jibrila Mohammed Bindo as member and Ehigie Uzamere as member.
“We want them to be very thorough, we want them to be very sincere and we want them to also bring the report as quickly as possible.”
The lawmakers, who expressed disappointment over the action of the Nigerian Police, unanimously accepted the setting up of the committee for proper investigation.
Senator Ita Enang (PDP-Akwa Ibom) called for a review of the National Assembly Service Act in order to arm the Sergeant-at-Arms to protect the legislature all over the country.
“It is events like this that make us look at our laws. I and a few of our colleagues are working on a Bill and I will pray the committee that we look at these things to come up with amendment to our laws, particularly, the National Assembly Service Act.
“That we create and elevate the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms to allow them to bear arms because other parliaments in the world allow the Sergeant-at-Arms of their parliaments to bear arms.
“Number two, to ensure that every other security personnel within the premises and precinct of the National Assembly is subject to and under the control of the Sergeant-at-Arms.
“Third, that no person brings arms into the Chambers or the Premises except as authorised by the Sergeant-at-Arms. It is good now that we bring the standard of the practice of our democracy to the standard that is happening in other parliaments – UK and US
“At this time of terrorism, and where other security agencies are even alleged to have some infiltrations, Mr President, it is wise for the legislature, not just the National Assembly, the legislature all over Nigeria.
“Under the law, when a police officer comes here, he is subject to the Sergeant-at-arms; but we were told that the Sergeant-at-Arms of this National Assembly was even arrested by the Police on that day.”
On his part, Senator Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) called for adequate punishment of the police operatives for breaching the law guiding the National Assembly.
“This unfortunate event should be looked at positively so that it will serve as a wakeup call for us to look at the laws that establish and guide the operations of this institution.
“The law states clearly what the punishment for such action is. The IG and violated that law and it is clear that he should be punished.”
Sen. Chris Ngige (APC-Anambra) urged the senate to act urgently to avoid a repeat of the incident that happened on Nov. 20. “This senate should rise up to the occasion. Certain situations bring out the pitfalls in our laws and in our system. This is one of it.
“I do not know how we can have laws that give us privileges so that our works are not encumbered and then we have strangers mentioned in that law coming to obstruct us. I think this senate should do the needful.”
NAN recalls that the National assembly was on Thursday, Nov. 20 shut down by Sen. David Mark over breach of security by the Nigerian Police.
The Police had locked lawmakers out of the complex, which led to the scaling of fence by some members of the House of Representatives.