By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday had a raw deal in the hands of men of Nigeria Army as he was subjected to an unnecessary search by armed men who insisted his convoy must be ransacked in Kaduna.
Tambuwal apparently angered by the conduct of the soldiers came out of the car and trekked the short distance into the venue.
The incident, according to sources, occurred more than 200 meters away from Hotel 17, venue of an international conference on security and development challenges of Pastoralism in West and Central Africa, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The speaker, who arrived the venue of the gathering at exactly 9.16 am for the 10.00 am opening ceremony, had his convoy stopped by soldiers who insisted they must search his official car before he could be allowed into the venue.
‘Orders from above’
Vanguard gathered that despite much plea by security details attached to the speaker, the soldiers refused to yield, claiming they had “orders from above” to search the speaker.
Incidentally, other VIPs, especially governors, who attended the conference, were allowed access into the hotel without hindrance.
The speaker is the number four citizen in Nigeria’s official hierarchy after the President, Vice-President and Senate President.
When contacted for his reaction, Tambuwal’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, decried the conduct of the soldiers, saying their attitude undermined the institution of the legislature.
“It is not about the person of the speaker, but the office he is occupying. What we expect is for the security agents to show respect for the office of the Number 4 citizen of the country, “ he said.
Another senior aide of the speaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the incident, saying “there was a conference on security, orgsanised by the Office of the National Security Adviser in Kaduna where the speaker was to deliver a speech.
“In the process of getting to the venue, everybody was subjected to security screening, including the speaker’s convoy. So there was delay in the process and the speaker had to walk to the venue due to time constraint.”
He, however, added that the speaker had since left Kaduna for Ibadan where he was to condole with the family of the late Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao who passed on last week.
Speaker’s car not searched
The soldiers eventually did not search the speaker’s car after he walked into the venue.
Vanguard recalls that the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, suffered a similar fate when he and other dignitaries were locked up in a room at Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.