Senate Welcomes Some August Visitors From Police Headquarters As Deputy Senate President Raises The Alarm On Threat To His Life

Emeka Ekpunobi

There was mild drama yesterday at the National Assembly when a team of senior policemen stormed the nation’s legislative building to formally summon Clerk of the National Assembly Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, deputy senate president Senator Ike Ekweremadu and others for questioning over alleged forgery of senate’s standing rules.

The police had earlier confirmed that it would arrange a meeting with the deputy senate president, Clerk of the National Assembly and others for discussion on the alleged forgery of the senate standing rules, The presence of the six-man police team, which was led by a Commissioner of Police, caused a stir at the National Assembly yesterday.

The team was first sighted near the National Assembly annex from where they were directed to the office of the Clerk. The team was also said to have visited Ekweremadu’s office but did not meet him. It was not also confirmed if the Clerk was also in office when the police men came, but a senior employee of the National Assembly told The UNION yesterday that the police team only came to invite the Clerk of the National Assembly and others for questioning in an alleged forgery of the senate standing rule.

Meanwhile, Senator Ekweremadu has raised the alarm over an alleged threat to his life by those he called “desperate politicians”, declaring that intimidation and threat would never force him to abandon his constitutional duties. In a statement yesterday, Ekweremadu declared that he would rather focus on his constitutional responsibilities as a lawmaker than be distracted by an allegation he said “was a distraction by desperate politicians”.

As Ekweremadu spoke, a member of the Southeast caucus in the senate, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, warned the police to be cautious in handling the alleged forgery.

Ohuabunwa said that such allegation should not also be politicized, adding that it would be dangerous for the police to rush into internal matters of the senate, Ekweremadu had in a reaction yesterday said he had received “numerous calls and messages from well meaning Nigerians, elder statesmen, governors, distinguished senators and honourable members of the House of Representatives across party lines, concerned members of the international community, youth and women organisations, royal fathers, and civil society organisations, among others, who have continued to express utter dismay and concern over the unfolding drama” in which his life and liberty are being threatened by desperate politicians.

“Senator Ekweremadu wishes to assure all Nigerians and concerned members of the international community that everything is under control and that all democratic steps are being taken to preserve the nation’s democracy and protect the independence of the legislature.

“The Deputy President of the Senate, further wishes to assure Nigerians, that necessary step are being taken, by the security agencies, to beef up security around him. “He appreciates the nation’s security agencies for their professional handling of the situation so far, and acknowledges with a deep sense of gratitude the numerous youths across the country who have volunteered to provide additional security around him.

“In all these, however, let it be known that no amount of intimidation or harassment will deter Senator Ekweremadu from carrying out the constitutionally prescribed duties, which on June 9, 2015, PDP and APC Senators willingly elected him in the full glare of the world”, the statement read in part.

Briefing journalists Monday in Abuja, Ohuabunwa also urged the Police to exercise restraint in the manner it wades into matters concerning the internal workings of the Senate.

Ohuabunwa, who was a ouse of Representatives’ Deputy Majority Leader, described as “unfortunate” the invitation extended to Ekweremadu on the issue.

“I think the Police should be careful in handling this matter because I know that the law is clear that for all activities that take place at the National Assembly or on the floor of the Senate or in the chamber cannot be used as evidence against any Senator. That is why when you speak, when you see people fight on the floor the police is not involved because it is a place emotion will play a role.

If anything happened, the police have a division at the National Assembly, there is the bureaucracy, the National Assembly management headed by the Clerk to the National Assembly”, Ohuabunwa explained.

He explained that since the 2015 rule was handed over to Senators during the inauguration of Senate adding that it was wrong to accuse any Senator of having played a role in producing that rule book.

According to Ohuabunwa “the whole issue is unfortunate. Some of us do not really understand what is happening. But some of these things might be politics. Don’t also forget that since the emergence of the Deputy Senate President, the ruling party has been very uncomfortable. It is quite unfortunate because there is nothing untoward in the eyes of those behind the petition that the Senate and Senators cannot resolve.

“If you are talking of the rule, it is the rule of the Senate as at today because we have been inaugurated. So if there are amendments, you raise the amendment on the floor and it will be debated. There is nothing sacrosanct that says that 2011 rule must be used for 2015.” He added.

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