The Nigerian Senate is no longer investigating its 2018 invasion by men who forcibly removed the mace, a spokesperson has said.
The Senate spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki (APC, Nasarawa North), made this known to journalists on Friday. He said the probe ended as soon as the eighth Senate rounded off and that the present ninth Senate cannot restart it.
He said it was impossible to do so since the immediate last Senate could not present and consider it’s findings.
In April 2018, some men invaded the Senate chamber and carted away the mace which serves as a symbol of authority in the legislature.
The incident, executed in the full glare of lawmakers, journalists and other observers in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly, bore the imprints of a security operation with at least two of the attackers identifying themselves as police officers.
It was the first in Nigerian history.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, was accused of leading the thugs into the chamber to steal the mace although the lawmaker has continually denied being involved in the incident.
A joint ad hoc committee was set up to investigate the Senate invasion and mace theft. The committee had summoned the lawmaker, alongside another senator, Ali Ndume, for allegedly aiding the hoodlums.
Although he appeared before the investigative panel, Omo-Agege refused to answer questions. He told the panel that he had filed a court order restraining the public hearing and that speaking about his role would only amount to subjudice.
The ad hoc committee recommended that the lawmaker be suspended for 180 legislative days. It also called for the immediate prosecution of Omo-Agege and six other suspects on charges of treasonable felony, assault occasioning harm, conspiracy to steal and theft of the mace.
When asked if the report of the mace snatching would come up in the present Senate, Mr Akwashiki said the Senate will not start a fresh probe of alleged involvement of Omo-Agege in the matter.
“As far as I am concerned, anything that affects the life of the eight National Assembly, any uncompleted report, has expired with the life of the last Assembly. If it is a bill that was passed but not assented to, or any other uncompleted bill…has expired with the life of the eight Assembly,” he was quoted as saying.
“As far as the ninth National Assembly is concerned, even if we want to enact a bill, we have to start it afresh. Anything unresolved issue in the eight Assembly has gone forever. So, the implication is that the report of mace snatching has gone with the eight Senate.”
Although the ad hoc committee had called for his suspension, an Abuja high court restrained the National Assembly leadership and eight others from considering the report of the ad-hoc committee.
The court said the restraining order shall remain, pending the determination of a suit filed by Omo-Agege.
Omo-Agege was elected Deputy President of the Senate on July 11 amidst condemnation from opposition parties and civic groups who have said he should be prosecuted for coordinating the mace theft.