Civil Society Organisations Condemn Senate’s Mace “Abduction’’

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday in Abuja said the “abduction’’ of the mace at the Senate’s chamber in the National Assembly was a humiliation of Nigeria’s democracy.

The CSOs told newsmen in separate interviews that the ugly incident was a challenge to the authority of the National Assembly.

Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the act must have been planned by some people not comfortable with the leadership of the assembly.

“The mace is the symbol and power of the National Assembly, so if anybody is taking it away, it means that there are people who are uncomfortable with the current leadership,’’ he said.

Nwagwu said that the incident was an indication of lack of cohesion in the national assembly.

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Mr Chidi Onuma, Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, described the incident as “frightening’’.

Onuma said the mace “is supposed to be the symbol of Nigeria’s democracy from the legislative point of view. So, if a stranger can just walk in and take it away, that tells us how weak the nature of the legislature is.

“The public deserve to know what happened and this also calls for thorough investigation because these are the kind of things that happen only in banana republics.

“It is completely uncalled for; so, we need to know what happened and there should be an investigation on it.’’

He added that there was no way Nigerians could explain what happened on Wednesday at the senate, saying that the incident had a serious implication on Nigeria’s democracy, the National Assembly and security agencies.

On his part, Mr Frank Tietie, Executive Director, the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), said that the entire event was a political conspiracy.

“The first thing that comes to my mind is that it is a political conspiracy among the leadership and security at the National Assembly.

“I do not want to subscribe to the cheap conclusion that one man has the intelligence and knowhow to beat the security at the assembly.

“I believe this is another calculated way of humiliating our country and the price is too much for this kind of political dealings and must be investigated for the purpose of exposing the collaborators,’’ he said.

Tietie said that the act was an insult to the entire nation, “an insult that Nigeria will not be able to easily recover from in the eyes of other countries.

“Nigerians cannot imagine that this will happen in the United States, where the same Presidential system operates.’’

He said that the incident was a national embarrassment and that no stone should be left unturned to find out the perpetrators.

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