Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

Thoughts Lead To Appreciation

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SHUTDOWN | Senate

Watching the Senate plenary earlier today on the shutdown of the National Assembly, I was horrified David Mark, Senate President, was assaulted on Thursday November 20, 2014.

Interestingly, the perpetrator has been pardoned.

Zainab Kure of Niger State acted promptly to plead with the Senate President in order to secure the release of the individual who attacked him.

Considering the outrage among Senators and across the nation on the circumstances of the shutdown, who precisely should be held accountable for denigrating the Chambers?

It is evident the culprit will be someone whose constituency is not represented in the Senate, if such a person exists.

Who do Senators want condemned?

Senators will do well not to direct their annoyance at some imaginary police officers.

Nor will the Senate do justice to investigation should the target be the Inspector General Of Police who was nowhere near the scene of the incident.

Last week’s events at the National Assembly is a culmination of infringements on legislators that was sparked with the brutal assault of the Speaker of Rivers State House Of Assembly.

That was widely criticised with demands for perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Yet, when a similar occurrence presented at the seat of the federal government, Zainab Kure acting in collaboration with her governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu made certain perpetrators walked.

The few moments I listened to the sitting of the Senate were critical.

Several members of the legislature were locked out of the premises on that eventful day.

Heineken Lokpobiri of Bayelsa State was among the lawmakers permitted to proceed into the premises.

He narrated he was asked by the police to identify himself which he did.

He was also asked to open the boot of his vehicle, to which he complied.

Heineken was subsequently granted leave to enter the Chambers.

This raises questions on why other legislatures were not allowed access to the National Assembly.

What happened in the interval – between access and shutdown – that led to the locking of the gates?

Were some persons present uncooperative with the police?

While some noisy Senators at the hearing would have a condemnation of the police, a better course of action is to understand the role of police plus any actions of legislators that could have triggered the unrest.

Chris Ngige of Anambra State asserted several Senators, in an attempt to comprehend the orders of the police, made a call to the Inspector General Of Police ~IGP who redirected them to the Divisional Police Officer ~DPO of the National Assembly.

Senator Ngige’s assumption that the action of the IGP would not have occurred should the National Assembly have powers to vet and approve the appointment of the Inspector General Of Police is not accurate at all.

The police function in units and the closest unit to any case is the office of the DPO.

Only when one is dissatisfied with the role of the DPO can one ascend to the next police authority, the Area Commander.

That was my understanding from my recent interactions with Sokoto State Commissioner Of Police.

Of course, the primary purpose of my contact with the Commissioner was precisely the result of the ethnic bias of the DPO.

Aware the Commissioner was of another region and has a no-nonsense reputation, I was certain I would receive the attention of the law and not of some cultural idiocy.

In any event, I pray the sanctity of every citizen of my great nation is preserved and violators prosecuted.

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