Senate yesterday directed its Committee on National Security and Intelligence to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged invasion of Ekiti State House of Assembly by officers of the Department of State Security, DSS.
This was sequel to a motion entitled, “The invasion of Ekiti State House of Assembly by armed men of the Department of State Service, DSS on Friday March 4, 2016”, sponsored by Senator Biodun Christine Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South).
The upper legislative chamber, which failed to condemn the illegal and unlawful act, however, gave the committee two weeks to submit its report.
Senator Olujimi had informed the Senate that, more than 10 DSS operatives armed to the teeth, invaded the state legislative chamber and held the lawmakers hostage, while shooting sporadically into the air.
She said that the shooting caused panic among members and the staff of the Assembly complex as they scampered for their safety.
The politician, who is the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, also noted that at the end of the commotion caused by the DSS invasion, four members of the House of Assembly could not be found, with news filtering later that one of the state legislators, Hon. Afolabi Akanni, the member representing Efon Constituency was abducted and taken to Abuja.
She also regrettably recalled how Akwa Ibom State Government House was earlier invaded by same DSS without any formal explanation as to the reason for the invasion.
Olujimi pointed out that the action of the security operatives was outside the scope of their mandate, insisting that the National Assembly as the highest law-making body in the country must intervene in the matter.
She stressed further that the action was not only unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful but was a calculated plot to harass, intimidate and embarrass the people and government of Ekiti State.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) who seconded the motion, urged the Senate to do something drastic about the development in order not to condone the breaking of the laws that gave the legislature powers to operate.
He reminded the chamber that Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act, which was passed in 1953 and still subsisting up till date clearly stipulates the powers of the legislative houses at all levels.
Abaribe said, “Permit me Mr President to read some relevant sections of that law. Section 14 of the legislative houses, powers and privileges Act states thus: ‘No stranger in respect of the legislative house shall be entitled to enter or remain within the chamber or precincts of that legislative house without the authority of the President or Speaker as the case maybe’.
“What it means is that before anybody will come to a legislative house, there must be first permission sought from the presiding officer. In the case of Ekiti State they were sitting in their meetings, there is no indication that there was a permission sought and permission given to the DSS to come into a chamber and arrest somebody. In that case they have broken the law.
“Section 15 of this same Act says, ‘Any person being a stranger who enters the chamber or precincts without permission purely granted by authority of the President or Speaker is guilty of an offence and shall be liable to conviction to a fine of N50 or to imprisonment for three months or both such fine and imprisonment”.
The Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) also condemned the invasion, saying that even though it happened to the opposition party, the action was wrong and dangerous to the survival of the democracy.
“This motion is coming at a critical time; this motion is coming when this Senate is supposed to stand out to be Senate. This motion or the event or the unfortunate one is coming at the time that we should clearly stand by truth and the truth is that in a democracy there are three arms of government: the legislature, judiciary and the executive.
“The rights and privileges of each arm of government are clearly defined and that of the National Assembly as specified in the rights and privileges Act. So, what happened was wrong and we need to say it like that”.
However, the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Bala Na’ Allah urged the Senate to take judicial notice that Ekiti state had always been running outside the envelope, saying, “it is public knowledge that during the last election, some elements were taken, disguised as SSS and they helped in manipulating the election.
“We must tread cautiously with regard to any information that is coming from Ekiti,” he said.
Senator Isiaka Adeleke in his own contribution, vehemently opposed the motion on the basis of its claim that the invasion was a political vendetta, saying that it would be better for the relevant committees of the Senate to investigate the matter to avoid the Senate jumping into hasty conclusions.
But the Senate President, Dr. Abubakara Senator Bukola Saraki, in his ruling, said that the matter was a very serious matter and must be taken seriously by the apex chamber because it could affect the nation’s democracy negatively if not checked.

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