NASS Siege: Reps demand gun license for Sergeant-at-Arms

October 12th, 2018

*want full investigation on Jos crisis, Gen. Alkali’s disappearance

By Jude Opara

Apparently still worried over the August 7,2018 invasion of the National Assembly by hooded operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), the House of Representatives yesterday asked the federal government to grant license to the officers in the Sergeant-at-arms of the National Assembly to carry firearms.

The House equally asked the federal government and relevant security agencies in the country to trace the whereabouts of General Idris Alkali as well as other all missing persons in Nigeria who have not been seen since the recent crisis in Jos, Plateau State capital.

The resolutions emanated at Thursday’s plenary from two separate motions sponsored by Hon. Nicholas Ossai from Delta State and Hon. Edward Pajouk from Plateau State under matters of urgent public importance.

Presenting his motion titled “Urgent Need to Address the Desecration and Security challenges on the Invasion of the National Assembly by Security Operatives”, Ossai noted that the development which lasted for several hours prevented both lawmakers and other stakeholders from gaining access into the National Assembly.

“Security operatives laid siege on the entire National Assembly complex for more than 6 hours, barricaded all its entrances 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.”

Ossai equally reminded his colleagues of the reported incident on April 18,2018 when unknown persons in full glare of everybody  invaded the hallowed chambers of the Senate and carried away the Mace while the National Assembly security watched helplessly.

He equally recalled the early morning invasion of the residences of the two presiding officers of the senate in July 24,2018 by security operatives, saying that such actions must not be condoned.

“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.”

The lawmaker who called for the establishment of a full- fledged training academy for the officers in the Sergeant- at- arms, 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 environs.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara who subjected the motion to voice vote got an overwhelming acceptance, which prompted the House to mandate its committees on Police and Legislative Compliance to liaise with the Presidency and report back to the House within 4 weeks for further action.

In a related development, the House also challenged the federal government and security agencies to go beyond rhetorics to investigate the whereabouts of all missing persons in the country.

In the motion co-sponsored by Honourables Edward Pajouk and Istifanus Gyang, the House equally demanded the immediate release of all those who are under detention, especially civilians detained in military barracks.

While condemning the crisis, the two lawmakers  expressed concern that the tragedy that had engulfed Northern zone of Plateau State, has spread to Bassa, Jos North, Jos South, Jos East, Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas, with resultant loss of human lives, properties, forceful occupation of ancestral lands and displacement of thousands of citizens.

They specifically expressed worry that General Alkali who was the immediate past Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army had disappeared since September 3, 2018.

Speaker Dogara who ruled on the motion after an affirmative voice vote, mandated  the House Committees on Army, Defence, Police and Human Rights to ensure compliance of the decisions and report back to the House within two weeks.

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