Intimidation of federal lawmakers, drift to anarchy – Reps
The House of Representatives on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to grant licence to Sergeant-at-arms of the National Assembly to use firearms in the bid to strengthen the security within the democratic institution in line with international best practice.
The clarion call came after the adoption of a motion sponsored by Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) during the debate on a motion titled: ‘Urgent need to address the desecration and security challenges on the invasion of the National Assembly by security operatives’, under urgent public importance.
Ossai, who accused the Executive arm of government of “constant intimidation, interference and abuse of legislative institutions across the country”, described the development as “a smell, creeping towards dictatorship and anarchy.”
In the bid to address the challenge, the lawmaker stressed the need to activate section 12(2) of the National Assembly Service Commission Act, 2014 which vests all the powers, privileges and immunities of the Police and other law enforcement agencies on Sergeant-at-arms of the National Assembly, in the performance of their legislative duties.
In his led debate, Ossai observed that: “security operatives laid siege on the entire National Assembly complex for more than six hours, barricaded all its entrance and deprived Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members of the House of Representatives, National Assembly staff, including the Clerk, Journalists and other stakeholders from
entering the complex.
The lawmaker, who harped on urgent need to train Sergeant-at-arms on the use of firearms and other self-defence mobile electronic devices, argued that a well-trained Sergeant-at-arms will give lawmakers and the entire National Aseembly premises the needed safety and a better security protection it deserves.
“The House is aware of a reported incident on April 18, 2018, when unknown persons in broad daylight invaded the Senate Chamber and carried away the mace of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The House is also aware of a reported early morning invasion of the residence of the leadership of the Senate on July 24, 2018 by security operatives that led to massive defection of lawmakers on both Senate and the House of Representatives from one political party to another,” he noted.
The Delta lawmaker said that “these brazen operations on legislative institutions were a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law, doctrine of separation of powers and a breach of national security.”
While calling for an establishment of a full-fledged training academy for the officers in the sergeant at arms, the lawmaker also asked the House to amend its Standing Rules to include the decision, saying it would ensure the protection of legislators, the national assembly premises and its precincts.
While ruling, Speaker Yakubu Dogara referred the motion to its committees on Police and Legislative Compliance to liaise with the Presidency and report back to the House within four weeks for further inputs.
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