Stolen Mace: Presidency, Senate Face-off Deepens

The festering crisis of confidence between the Presidency and the National Assembly may have deepened.

There were signs yesterday that the Senate may have resolved to dump all Executive communications sent to it for action.

The resolution to “keep all Executive communications in view” was one of the high points of about three hours closed session the upper chamber held yesterday.

The April 18 invasion of the Senate chamber by thugs was said to have dominated discussions at the closed session.

It was gathered that Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) was confronted by his colleagues over his alleged role in the invasion of the Senate chamber.

Sources said that Adamu was pointedly called  an “enemy of democracy” when he allegedly insinuated that “there is no smoke without fire”.

It was gathered that most senators at the secret meeting insisted that “the sustained persecution of the Senate by the Executive must stop”.

The senators, it was gathered, decided that “they must defend themselves as well as democracy.”

It was learnt that the lawmakers also vowed that “whatever comes from the executive will not be considered as long as the persecution continues”.

Asked what specifically the Senate decided to dump, the sources refused to go into details but noted that “the decision was near unanimous”.

One said: “It was obvious that most senators were not comfortable with the sustained onslaught against the National Assembly, particularly against the Senate.”

He said that most senators agreed that the alleged attacks were being “orchestrated and sustained by the Presidency”.

According to the source, discussion of the invasion of the Senate chamber by thugs and the role allegedly played by some senators generated a lot of heat in the chamber.

He said that senators agreed that the invasion was “too daring” to be considered as ordinary.

He said that although the mace, the symbol of authority of the Senate, had been recovered by the police, “many of our colleagues insisted that the matter must not be swept under the carpet”.

Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central) was said to have accused some senators of “steadily causing division in the Senate”.

He was also said to have claimed that “many of those promoting the division in the Senate were not originally with President Muhammadu Buhari”.

Marafa was said to have insisted that whereas he and some other senators followed the party’s line at the beginning of the 8th Senate, others who backed Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki defied party directives to install Saraki.

The Zamfara senator, the source said, was categorical that some senators were promoting, and sponsoring seeds of discord in the Senate.

He was also said to have insisted that the actions of some senators partly led to the April 18 invasion.

It was gathered that shortly after Marafa spoke, the former Nasarawa State governor, Adamu, took the floor to caution senators to be wary of the discussion of the invasion.

Adamu was also said to have cautioned against the insinuation that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was linked to the incident.

The source noted that “the outburst of Adamu to the effect that there is no smoke without fire” infuriated many senators.

He said that Adamu drew the ire of other senators when he insisted: “There is no smoke without fire, and I tell you there is big fire behind this smoke.”

The source said Marafa particularly and some other descended on Adamu, calling him names, including “a threat to democracy”.

He said that the session almost became rowdy when many senators rose in anger to attack Adamu.

He said that Adamu was accused of failing to play the role of a statesman even though his age and experience in government showed him as one.

Adamu was also accused of being “a threat to democracy and sustainable peace in the chamber”.

After the closed session, the Senate at plenary announced at a short session that a joint committee with the House of Representatives would probe the incident.

Saraki, who announced this, said: “This legislature is a true representation of democracy and as long as we defend this legislature, we defend democracy in this country,

“We also resolved the need to tighten the security at the National Assembly and I’m calling on all members of the public to please cooperate with us.

“Clearly, there are some loopholes here and we need to tighten them.

“A constitution of a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives also resolved to investigate the incident of the 18th of April, to look at the factors leading to it and to ensure that such never happens again at the National Assembly.

“We also directed our committee on Security, Intelligence and Police to engage with the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police to look at how to strengthen the security of the National Assembly to ensure that these security lapses will not reoccur.”

The Nation

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