SENATOR Ovie Omo-Agege, who allegedly led thugs who caused disruption at the upper legislative chamber during plenary today, has been set free by the Nigeria Police.
The thugs while in action made away with the Senate’s symbol of authority, the Mace.
This was made known by his media office in a statement signed by Barr. Lucky Ajos.
“We are aware of several media reports suggesting that Senator Omo-Agege personally removed or encouraged anyone to remove the Mace of the Senate. This weighty allegation is not true at all.”
The statement however said the lawmaker was not arrested.
“Following the said media reports on the Mace issue, the Police authorities decided to hear from Senator Omo-Agege. He has told the Police his perspective to help them carry out a proper investigation. He has since left the Police. Senator Omo-Agege trusts them to thoroughly investigate this very serious matter.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ordered an investigation into the invasion of the National Assembly and theft of the mace from the Senate.
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said in a statement that the Federal Government was shocked by the incident and has ordered a probe.
The security agencies are “to immediately unravel the circumstances surrounding the breach of security that led to the invasion”, the statement signed by a Special Adviser to the minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi, read in part.
In addition to that, the statement said security would also be reinforced to prevent a recurrence.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) also condemned the incident which took place at the upper legislative chamber.
In a statement issued by APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, the ruling party whose member, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, was alleged to have sponsored the attack, described it as an attack against democracy.
“The attention of the APC has been drawn to the invasion of the Nigerian Senate by suspected thugs who disrupted Wednesday’s plenary and made away with the mace.
“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.
“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,” it said.
Reacting to the situation, spokesperson of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan described the seizure of the mace as a “direct assault on the legislature and bold attempt to truncate Nigeria’s democracy.”
In a statement, Ologbondiyan said, “We note that this offensive has been emboldened by series of interferences and direct attacks by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency on the institution of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate.
“The APC has foisted on our nation an irredeemable autocracy, which has in three years of governance, gone beyond limits to force Nigerians to accept a government that has no respect for freedom and the ideals of democracy, particularly the constitutional separation of powers.
“Is it not strange that a legislative day appointed to further deliberate on the re-ordering of sequence of election will be the day that strange elements would invade the National Assembly, particularly, the hallowed chambers of the Senate, to disrupt legislative proceeding and seize the mace?
“Equally strange is the compromising of security in the National Assembly paving the way for the invasion.
“The parliament, all over the world, is the bastion of democracy, without which government becomes autocratic and totalitarian.
“We urge Nigerians to pause and reflect on the series of assaults on our legislature under the current dispensation; the persecution and harassment of the leaders and members of the Senate on trumped-up charges, including declaring a serving senator wanted by the Police.
“We therefore charge the National Assembly to bring forth every legislative instrument to protect itself from external aggressions as well as unravelling every persons, offices and institutions that played any form of roles in this wild attempt to scuttle our hard earned democracy.
“Our nation has accepted democracy as the best form of governance. Those whose adrenaline cannot accommodate democracy and its constitutionally guaranteed tenets should either shape in or be forced to conform with the best ideals of democracy.”
Also, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the invasion of the Senate chamber by hoodlums and the carting away of the Mace – the symbol of authority of the upper chamber.
Reacting to the incident in Abuja on Wednesday, Atiku described the attack as a dangerous precedent and an assault on Nigeria’s democracy by anti-democratic elements.
“I am utterly embarrassed, shocked and outraged by this ugly development because it is not only a threat to a major democratic institution, but also represents a grave danger to the survival of our democracy.”
He said that given the tension in the country, the timing of the attack could not have come at a worse time for Nigeria, and that using illegal and unconstitutional methods to threaten the authority of a key democratic institution is unacceptable, evil, and condemnable.
The former Vice President noted that it is inconceivable that hoodlums could force their way into the Senate chamber and take away the Mace.
“If criminals could commit such security breach with impunity, it means that our entire democracy is in danger”, Atiku said.
He reminded Nigerians that so many people have died in order to bring this democracy about and therefore called for immediate investigation into the incident and the prompt prosecution of those involved.
“It is unacceptable and reprehensible to subject the National Assembly to this intimidation and humiliation. This attack by thugs should not go unpunished no matter who is involved”, he added.