The Nigerian Police has narrated why thugs overpowered its personnel at the National Assembly, gained entrance into the legislative chamber of the Nigerian Senate in broad daylight and stole the chamber’s symbol of authority, the Mace.
Thugs had last month attacked the Senate while plenary was on and carted away the Mace in the presence of lawmakers and security personnel.
The incident raised concerns in some quarters how the thugs were able to gain entrance into the chamber despite all the security personnel attached to the National Assembly.
Narrating how they were overpowered by the thugs, the Sergeant-at-Arms to the National Assembly, Brighton Danwalex, said lack of non-functional security gadgets to enhance operational capacity was why the hoodlums gained entrance into the complex and carted away the Mace.
Danwalex stated this when he appeared before an investigative hearing into the incident by joint ad hoc committee probing the incident on Wednesday.
“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 said that report from investigation after the incident revealed that a senator, Ali Ndume, instructed the men assigned to protect the mace not to touch it during the invasion.
According to him, it was wrong for them to take orders from Mr Ndume.
“Security men are having challenges with some legislators because they don’t want to follow checks,” Danwalex said.
Narrating his own side of what transpired, the Divisional Police Officer in the National Assembly, Sulu-Gambari Abdul said what happened was an internal conspiracy.
Mr Abdul said what played out at the National Assembly on the said day the incident occurred was a conspiracy between some security agencies and some lawmakers.
“There should be a synergy between security agencies and the lawmakers but in this case the attack came from the roof as the senators are not helping security matters.
“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 a.m., 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 strain of blood on their clothes made me suspicious and I ordered that they should be arrested.
“In all, six people were arrested same day and handed over to the Force Headquarters alongside charms recovered from them.
“In addition, an unmarked Prado jeep and a Toyota Hilux were impounded and they are with 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.