Police Blame Senate Invasion on Internal Conspiracy

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Damilola Oyedele with agency reports

The Nigeria Police have said the April 18 invasion of the Senate was made possible by internal conspiracy between some security agencies and some lawmakers.

The Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, Mr. Sulu-Gambari Abdul, said this Wednesday in his submission before the joint Senate and House of Representatives committee investigating the invasion.

During the invasion of the Senate Chamber by the hoodlums, the mace was stolen but was later recovered under a bridge in Abuja.

Abdul said a protest which occurred in front of the National Assembly on the fateful day was actually diversionary.

“On April 16, there was an earlier hint that a group planned to invade the National Assembly and disrupt activities, which called for a build-up of security with two units of mobile police mobilised to the complex.

However, on April 18, at about 11 am, my attention was drawn to a group protesting at the gate, and while I moved to address the group, I was informed that some people were running away with the mace,”

“I signalled all the entry points that nobody drives in or out but three men approached me identifying themselves as security operatives and requested to be allowed to go. The stain of blood on their clothes made me suspicious and I ordered their arrest,” Abdul told the committee.

He added that six persons were arrested in connection with the invasion, and handed over to the Force Headquarters, in addition to an unmarked Prado jeep and a Toyota Hilux which were impounded by the police.

“It was later that I observed that the protest was a diversionary attention to move me out and that the protesters were same group with those that attacked,’’ Abdul said.

He also told the Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah led committee that there was no communication from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the National Assembly during the invasion by the thugs.

In his submission earlier, the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr Brighton Danwalex, lamented that the legislative security officials do not have adequate security gadgets.

“There is no functional walkie-talkie; we would have alerted all the exit points. The CCTV is not functioning and there is only one operational patrol vehicle and the entrance into the white house requires biometric doors,’’ he said.

Danwalex also said that several legislators create problems for security operatives due to their refusal to submit for security checks.

Senator Shehu Sani however blamed security officers for some of the lapses, as he noted that they were more concerned with making money, thereby allowing unauthorised persons into the complex.

“People troop in here by paying money to security. Supposing they were terrorists and had it been that they came in to kill someone, they would have succeeded. How could five thugs succeed if there was no collusion? Sani said.

The Committee Co-Chairman, Hon Betty Apiafi, said the security officials were negligent in their duties, as they failed to raise alarm during the invasion.