Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The joint Senate and House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the invasion of the Senate chamber and the snatching of its mace has invited Senators Ovie Omo-Agege and Ali Ndume.
The lawmakers were invited over their alleged roles in the attack on the Senate.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, announced the summons after a sitting by the panel.
Na’Allah, who read out the synopsis of the letter to be sent to the senators, noted that the testimonies given by various security personnel at the National Assembly Complex before the panel had implicated Omo-Agege and Ndume.
On Ndume, he said, “Based on the testimony by the sergeant-at-arms before the committee, you are alleged to have prevented the mace keeper from taking away the mace to safety. The committee has, therefore, deemed it necessary to invite you in order to respond to that allegation.”
On Omo-Agege, Na’Allah said, “Based on the testimony of the Divisional Police Officer, the Department of State Services and the sergeant-at-arms, you are alleged to have entered the National Assembly accompanied by seven persons, who allegedly took the mace of the Senate during the plenary session on April 18, at about 11:30 am.
“All those who testified stated that the said people were cleared into the chamber based on your confirmation that they were with you.
“The committee, pursuant to this, has deemed it necessary to formally invite you to respond to these allegations on Wednesday, May 16, at 11:00 am.”
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, had on Tuesday last week inaugurated the ad hoc committee, noting that there were reports that those who attacked the Senate were led by a serving senator.
“It has been inferred in many quarters that this group of thugs and urchins were led by a serving distinguished senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (this) is most despicable and unspeakable,” Saraki said.
Na’Allah had also noted that all those suspected to have links with the attack would be interrogated.
“In the coming days, those who have a responsibility to offer explanations on this matter will appear before the committee,” he said.
The DPO, National Assembly Division, Mr. Abdul Sulu-Gambari, during his appearance before the panel last week, had accused the lawmakers of conspiracy in the attack.
When contacted on Tuesday, Ndume declined to comment on the attack and his invitation by the probe panel.
“I have not received any communications yet and I don’t want to comment on it,” he said.
Omo-Agege could not be reached as he did not pick several calls made to his telephone line.
The lawmaker had, however, insisted on not knowing the attackers when he spoke to our correspondent on Friday. He stated that only his lawyers would determine his appearance before the joint Senate and House of Representatives committee that is investigating the attack.
The Senate had on April 12, 2018, suspended Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days for dragging the chamber to court over the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 which seeks to reshuffle the sequence of polls during a general election.
Omo-Agege had, however, attended plenary on April 18. The lawmaker’s arrival at the chamber had occurred the same time when suspected thugs invaded the Senate chamber while the plenary was ongoing and made away with the mace.
Meanwhile, Omo-Agege, who is representing the Delta Central Senatorial District, did not show up for plenary on Tuesday despite the Senate saying it had given the lawmaker a temporary freedom to do so.
The Senate said its decision was in deference to a court judgment which nullified Omo-Agege’s suspension.
Omo-Agege had exclusively told The PUNCH on Friday that he would resume legislative duties on Tuesday after the Federal High Court in Abuja nullified his suspension by the Senate.
He, however, told The PUNCH that he would be at the Senate on Wednesday (today).
“(I) will be at plenary tomorrow, God willing,” a text message in response to our correspondent’s enquiry on his absence on Tuesday read.