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Senate Orders Investigation of DSS Invasion of Ekiti Assembly

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

Senate has ordered its Committee on National Security and Intelligence to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly by officers of the Department of State Security  (DSS).

This followed a motion sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South).

Olujimi in the motion , titled:  “The invasion of Ekiti State House of Assembly by armed men of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Friday March 4, 2016”, told the Senators 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.

Olujimi 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 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 stipulated the powers of the legislative houses at all levels.

Abaribe said,  “Permit me Mr President to read some releveant sections of that law. Section 14 of the legislative houses, powers and privileges Act states thus: in 14(1), 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, Senator Bukola Saraki, in his ruling, said that the matter was a very serious matter and must be taken seriously by the upper Chamber because it could affect the nation’s democracy negatively if not checked.

He therefore, mandated the committee on National Security and Intelligence to investigate the matter and report back to the Senate within two weeks.

In a related development, the Senate through a motion moved by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha ( PDP Taraba South), urged the security chiefs to to deploy security operatives to flush out the Boko Haram insurgents from Taraba State and also stop the killings going on in the state.

It also condemned all the killings, kidnappings, destructions of property, farms and farmlands caused by Boko Haram terrorists in the state, just as it  called on  relevant committees of the Senate to visit the affected areas in the state and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps so as to ascertain the gravity of activities of the insurgents,and as well interface  with the state government and the security agencies in the state towards finding a lasting solution to the activities of the insurgents.

Bwacha in his motion titled: “The need to urgently flush out Boko Haram insurgents re-assembling in Taraba and halt the ongoing silent genocide in the state”.claimed that over 2000 people had been killed by fulani herdsmen since December 2015 till date in Taraba state, noting that the attackers were masquerading as Fulani herdsmen.

He  disclosed that  insurgents who were escaping from  military attacks  were relocating to the state.

He recalled that the former Military Director of Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade revealed that suspects arrested in Gidin Dorowa in Taraba state confessed to being members of the dreaded Boko Haram group.

He noted that “there is change of tactics by the insurgents, who were parading as herdsmen to make it more difficult for the unsuspecting public to identify them.

“The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, recently confirmed that the herdsmen involved in most of the senseless killings are not the same Fulanis we know.

“They go about grazing with AK 47 riffles. The insurgents caught  with over 300 cows in Borno by the JTF  and it adds credence to the assertion.

“These Boko Haram attackers, masquerading as Fulani herdsmen have killed over two thousand people from December  2013 to date in the state.

“The killings, kidnappings and destruction of property by these terrorists are still ongoing. Some villages are near extinction because of activities of these people.

“The rampaging Boko Haram has over-concentrated their activities in the central and southern parts of the state.”

Contributing,  Sen. Shehu Sanni(APC-Kaduna Central) said while the activities of herdsmen were devastating  they should not be tagged as terrorists.

Sen. Barnabas Gemade(APC-North East),  recalled how he sponsored a similar motion in the 7th Senate.

According to him, “ the leadership of the 7th Senate mandated the relevant committees to embark on a nationwide tour of affected states to ascertain the true position of things.


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