The Nigerian Senate has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawan Daura, to recover the mace which was stolen by Delta state lawmaker, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who invaded plenary session on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, with thugs.
The lawmaker, who was recently suspended, sneaked in through one of the glass barricades within the National Assembly complex and had the mace seized. The hoodlums that accompanied the Senator escaped from the chamber with the mace and fled in a black SUV.
According to an initial statement signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, Omo-Agege's action amounts to "an act of treason".
The mace is the symbol of authority in the Senate and no plenary sessions can legitimately take place in its absence from the chamber.
In a follow up statement, Senator Abdullahi revealed that the Nigeria Police Force and DSS have been authorised to retrieve the mace. The Senate also recommenced its session with a spare mace in place of the stolen one.
The statement read, "The Senate has resumed plenary about 15 minutes ago after coming out of an executive (closed door) session where the earlier incident of forceful removal of the mace was deliberated upon.
"The session is holding with the mace, the official symbol of authority firmly in place, and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, presiding.
"The Senate also decided that it will get to the roots of this sad assault on democracy and an obvious act of treason which the seizure of the mace by some armed hodlums represents.
"The Senate has mandated the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Kpotum Ibrahim and Director General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mallam Lawan Daura, to retrieve the mace stolen by the hoodlums within 24 hours.
"At the moment, some House of Representives members led by Deputy Speaker. Hon. Yusuf Lasun, are in the Senate chambers in solidarity visits. The session is presently live on NTA Channel 10.
"We are determined to conclude all matters slated on the Order Paper for today, even if it means us sitting until 6pm", says Ekweremadu."
Senate President Bukola Saraki was not present when the incident happened as he is away in the United States of America to attend this year's Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ikweremadu, presided over the day's session at 10:53am, shortly before the invasion started at 11:15am.
On April 12, 2018, Senator Omo-Agege was suspended for 90 legislative days for his conduct in objecting to the electoral amendment bill which is seeking to reorganise the order of elections in the country.
Omo-Agege, alongside nine other Senators, had staged a walkout after the Senate passed the bill. Following criticism that trailed his allegations that lawmakers were plotting against the president, he apologised to his colleagues.
The lawmaker had also been in the Senate's firing line for his involvement with a group called "Parliamentary support group in Senate for President Muhammadu Buhari".
When his case was referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the lawmaker approached the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to challenge the investigation.
The committee went ahead to recommend a 181-day suspension which was later reduced to 90 by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Saraki also recommended a termination of the parliamentary support group within the Senate and a withdrawal of the case instituted against the red chamber in court.