National Assembly shut after police futile bid to stop Tambuwal

National Assembly shut after police futile bid to stop Tambuwal

Thursday, November 20, 2014 1:21 pm

*Senate President shuts Assembly till next week
* Summons Police IG to explain teargassing of the Assembly
*opposition calls for a limit to impunity

Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives

It was a crisis expected: that the Nigerian police and the DSS counterparts would try to stop Speaker Aminu Tambuwal from doing his job after withdrawing his security aides three weeks ago. And it happened, triggering some bedlam in the hallowed chambers of Nigeria’s legislature, the second arm of government.

According to reports, pandemonium broke out at the National Assembly today as the House of Representatives reconvened to deliberate on the request by President Goodluck Jonathan to extend the State of Emergency in the three north east states ravaged by Boko Haram.

Tambuwal’s spokesman Imam Imam said the speaker arrived at parliament at about 10:00 am before the vote on the emergency extension.

Imam said Tambuwal was moving in a convoy with more than 40 other lawmakers, which police repeatedly tried to stop as they approached the main gate of parliament.

The convoy pressed through several police barricades before officers locked the gate that leads into the parliament complex, he added.

Lawmakers began pushing aggressively on the bars to force their way through, with police looking on from the other side, television pictures showed.

Several scaled the gate and then walked with Tambuwal towards the legislative building.

“As soon as we got (to parliament), they insisted he will not enter the chamber,” Imam told AFP.

“It was in that midst of confusion that they now used the tear gas on the speaker” and other lawmakers, he added.

An AFP correspondent said the main lobby outside the lower house chamber was filled with tear gas, with bystanders choking as they tried to find their way outside.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said officers were acting on reports that “hoodlums and thugs” had planned an “invasion” of parliament.

He claimed that Tambuwal and his allies defied police orders, assaulted officers and were to blame for the escalation in tension.

Though the Speaker eventually gained entrance into the complex, other lawmakers had to scale a fence to get into the complex.

Thursday’s resumption was to deliberate on a single agenda, which is “Consideration of Mr.President’s request for extension of the existing State of Emergency”, according to an earlier statement by the Speaker.

However, there was an alleged attempt to bar the Speaker’s entrance, as his media adviser tweeted, via @imamdimam, that security operatives had dispensed tear gas as well.

Rep member scales a gate

Rep member scales a gate

rep member scales gate 2

rep member scales gate 2

Meanwhile, the Senate President, David Mark has asked that the National Assembly be shut down till next week Tuesday.

The Inspector General of Police has also been summoned to explain the action of the security operatives.

The spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed, confirmed to journalists at the APC secretariat in Abuja that security operatives prevented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, from gaining entrance into the National Assembly Complex.

“I spoke with speaker Aminu Tambuwal five minutes ago and he confirmed to me that he has been locked out of the National Assembly complex at the second gate,” Mr. Mohammed said.

The APC spokesperson also said while Mr. Tambuwal is disallowed from entering the complex, his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, is already in the chamber.

‎”The Speaker reconvene the House at the instance of the President who wrote a letter to the Speaker asking for an extension of the state of emergency in three states and now he is being ambushed and not allowed in, it is a sad development for our country

“There must be limit to impunity and we are being ridiculed in the eyes of the world.”

Speaker Aminu Tambuwal incurred the wrath of the ruling PDP after he announced his defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress on 28 October. He then adjourned the sitting of the House till 3 December. But on Tuesday, he announced an emergency reconvening of the House following President Jonathan’s request for an extension of the state of emergency in three north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

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