* Panel faults police over slow pace investigation
* Omo-Agege declines comment
*Ndume says incident unfortunate, gives security tips
Members of the National Assembly ad-hoc committee on Tuesday faulted the Nigeria Police for its poor handling of the investigation of the April 18, 2018 invasion of the Senate Chambers and forceful retrieval of the mace.
The members of the NASS ad-hoc committee probing the incident at its sitting on Tuesday said the police has not treated the matter with the seriousness it deserves as a matter of national embarrassment.
But police investigation revealed that an identity card belonging to a staff of Kogi State Government House was found in one of the vehicles used by the intruders.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi) had charged the police as an institution of government to give the unravelling of the issue the seriousness it deserves, considering the enormity of the crime and its implication as national embarrassment to the President and the nation at large.
He said every institution of government concern should be upright in discharging its duty in helping the government unravel the case.
Senator Na’Allah said, “If you like the President and want him to succeed, you should do what will give credibility to the administration of Mr. President. The President openly condemned the invasion of the Senate and ordered a thorough investigation into the matter and I think the police should give it the seriousness and expediency it deserves”.
He said evidence from the comments made by police representatives clearly indicated that there is complicity in the whole invasion saga, stating that there is an allegation of internal conspiracy with security agencies to embarrass the institution of the National Assembly and that police is not doing enough to wriggle out of the allegation.
He said , “We are finding it difficult to appreciate the slow pace of the investigation of a matter as serious as threat to security of the National Assembly which has caused the nation big embarrassment”.
Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) said it is a pity that the Nigeria Police has always being at the receiving end of political crisis but was always timid to defend itself when given the opportunity to do so.
He said, “Part of your problem is that when opportunity come, you fail to put people in position of authority on their toes. You allow yourself to be used by those in position. Government come and go, they will use you and go away.
“There is limit to what you know and what you do. Politicians use thugs to foment trouble and disrupt peace while police look helplessly because you have been incorporated”.
The vice chairman of the committee, Hon. Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) had picked up the police representative when he said the case could drag on for 10 years by saying ‘that means the case could remain inconclusive in 30 years”, to which the policeman answered in the affirmative.
Representative of the police, Habu Sani, a Commissioner of Police from the Force Headquarters, had during interrogation, gave a brief account of the report of the National Assembly Division of the Nigeria Police which included the arrest of some suspects who are currently helping police in its investigation.
He however provoked the members of the panel when he said the investigation initiated at the Force Headquarters is inconclusive because the police has to follow procedures of investigations that may take some time.
Sani said the investigation of the arrested suspects is under the supervision of the FCT Command and that the Force has to wait for the completion of the investigation by the Command without any interference.
Also in his submission, the police officer said the suspect that ferried the mace out of the hallowed chamber is still at large and police need to arrest him, and link him with the established facts from the already interrogated suspects.
The committee, therefore, mandated the police officer in charge of the investigation at the FCT Command to appear before it on Wednesday (today). But the Police Commissioner Dani requested that a letter of invitation be written to the officer, to which the committee chairman agreed.
Earlier on, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central), declined to testify on the grounds that he has filed a legal action against the the committee from interrogating him.
The senator said he has taken a legal step on May 21, 2018 challenging the senate president, deputy senate president, deputy senate leader and members of the ad-hoc committee, the clerk of the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of hrs Federation and Inspector General of Police and that all parties have been duly served wit the court processes. But Senator Na’Allah said neither himself nor any member of the committee were served.
After an exhausting interpretation of extant laws from the constitution and the Senate standing order, the committee told Omo-Agege that his legal action cannot restrain the proceedings of the committee and that he has the option to respond to allegations against him or decline and take his leave.
Prior to Omo-Agege’s exit, his colleague, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) asked for a closed door session which was granted while Omo-Agege was in attendance.
But Senator Ndume gladly responded to questions put to him and expressed dismay at the ugly incident, describing the development as unfortunate.
He said he was constrained to testify and advised the National Assembly on to improve on the security architecture of the premises.
On the allegation that he directed the mace bearer not to carry the symbol of authority to safety during the invasion, Ndume said, “It is totally out of place for me to ask the mace bearer not to do his job. I cannot do that, I did not do that and I should not do that”.
Ndume ,however, promised to submit a private submission to the committee on things to be done to further improve on the security of the National Assembly.