- To sanction indicted lawmakers
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The report of the Senator Bala Ibn Ba’Allah-led committee set up to investigate the April 18, 2018 invasion of the Senate chambers, which led to the stealing of the mace will be debated next week by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
The invasion of the Senate chambers had thrown the legislative arm into utter shock and panic due to the audacity of the invaders and the manner in which they beat the tight security cordon around the Three Arms Zone where the National Assembly is located.
The Senate mace was removed by the invaders who stormed out of the chambers.
However, it was recovered around the National Stadium in Abuja two days later
Reliable sources at the National Assembly told THISDAY yesterday that the report of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee, which investigated the invasion, has been slated for debate at plenary on Tuesday or Thursday next week.
According to the sources, the committee headed by Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Na’Allah had actually competed its work some few months back.
THISDAY further learnt that similar committee set up by the House of Representatives, which also looked into the matter, had also completed its assignment.
It was also gathered that the delay in slating the reports for debate in the two chambers may not be unconnected with the last general election challenges and other national issues
“Now, the two chambers have resolved to deal with the matter before the expiration of their tenure in June and that by next week, the report has to be debated, “ one of the sources said.
The source said some major actors in the invasion saga were indicted in the report, adding that those indicted were recommended for punishments in line with the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act, which recommended a minimum of six months’ imprisonment for anyone found obstructing lawmakers in the performance of their legislative duties.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC Delta Central) was alleged to have taken active part in the invasion and abduction of the Senate Mace on the said day but he subsequently went to court to challenge the allegation against him. The chamber had actually singled him out for suspension but the court injunction he secured halted his suspension last year
Another source at the National Assembly told THISDAY that the report classified some actions as major and minor and recommended punishments, accordingly.
It was learnt that the decision to axe whoever was linked to the mace theft was fueled by indications that some of the said actors have been parading themselves as candidates endorsed by the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for one position or the other in the Ninth Assembly billed for inauguration in June
“We have been told by some campaigners that certain persons have been pencilled down for the position of Deputy Senate President and other positions in the incoming Assembly. The question is: What kind of legislature are we building if we have to reward those who violated the chambers and the legislature and removed the mace illegally out of the chambers? It is already being canvassed that action should be taken on the respite now and the two chambers of the Assembly are in unison in this matter”
“A number of Senators and House members are angered that there should be no reward for those who have one way or the other been linked to obstruction and invasion of the Assembly. If charges are pressed against them, some of them could serve up to six years in prison, in accordance with the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act, which is in force”, the source further said