Abuja – The Senate on Thursday announced that it had recovered its Mace which was forcefully taken away on Wednesday by some hoodlums who stormed the chamber while plenary was on.
Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, made the disclosure at plenary, and said that the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, was returned to the National Assembly by the police.
In its reaction immediately after the incident, the upper chamber urged the police to ensure that the mace was recovered within 24 hours.
Ekweremadu said: “Let me formally confirm to you that the Mace has been recovered and returned by the police as demanded by
this hallowed chamber.
“The international community was agitated to the theatre of the absurd when armed men invaded the chamber to assault our staff and cart away the mace, the symbol of authority of Senate.
“It was a very sad testimony, a derogation and total smear on democracy and nation.
“On behalf of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, I want to register deep appreciation to you, my colleagues, for your understanding and maturity in the face of flagrant provocation.
“You showed forth yourselves as patriots and elder statesmen and women; I’m indeed proud of you; I salute your patriotism.
“I want to specially appreciate the leadership and members of the House of Representatives, the management and staff of the National Assembly, especially our chamber staff for their gallantry.
“We appreciate Nigerians, the media, the civil society, the political parties and the international community for the outpour of solidarity and concern.”
He explained that as ugly and provocative as the incident was, the entire nation and the world stood together in total condemnation of the “ugly drama by those who held themselves above the laws and institutions of the land’’.
“We will also recall that this same chamber, supported by the House of Representatives demanded that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, recovers and returns the stolen Mace to the senate within 24 hours.”
He said that nevertheless, there should be consequences for bad behaviour.
“We swore to uphold the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the principles of democracy.
“It still beats the imagination of Nigerians and the civilised world that the attackers passed through the several security checks and barriers into the National Assembly and inner recess of the chamber.
“The attackers also escaped with the mace into the thin air in spite of the well-known fortified surroundings of this Parliament.
“Therefore, we hold that it will be a detour to the state of nature where life was lawless and brutish if what happened yesterday (Wednesday) is allowed to go unpunished or to be swept under the carpet.
“It will never happen. We will get to the root of the matter,” Ekweremadu said.
He charged the security agencies to ensure that all those who plotted and abated “this dastardly affront on Nigeria’s democracy’’ and belittled Nigeria before international community were prosecuted.
He said that the senate would invite the security chiefs next week, to brief the lawmakers on the state of investigation into the matter.
“This incident has also brought to the fore, the case many of us have made for the decentralised police system.
“Ordinarily, a big institution like the National Assembly should have its own police aside the Sergeants-at-Arms.
“I assure Nigerians that we will never waver in the responsibility they have elected us to carry for them.
“We will all stand together to defend this institution of the parliament and democracy; we will never fear to legislate and we will never legislate to fear,” Ekweremadu said. (NAN)