Thursday, 13 February 2020 05:36

N’Assembly leadership expresses concern as ‘strange, suspicious faces’ invade complex

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Worried by the presence of strange and suspicious persons, leadership of the National Assembly, yesterday, raised the alarm over possible attack on the assembly complex by terrorists.

It was learnt that the strange persons make their way into the complex, claiming to be from constituents of some lawmakers.

Director, Public Affairs, Mr Yahaya Dan-Zaria, also expressed worries but said steps were being taken to nip the situation in the bud.

A senior official of the National Assembly who spoke to some journalists said: “Yes, we have this dangerous intelligence reports that the National Assembly may be a victim of terrorist attack and we are not joking with it. Several steps are being taken, but many stakeholders are not showing the needed co-operation. The way strange and suspicious looking persons throng the National Assembly complex in recent times is worrisome. The situation has overstretched security architecture in the Assembly.

“Many of them when confronted at the gates are quick to resort to claims of being constituents of one lawmaker or the other. The point must be made that the National Assembly is not a place to meet constituents or have any form of ceremony with them. It is a place for serious legislative businesses bordering on the country’s socio-political and economic life.

“Again, the point must be made that the kind of persons who now seat as members of both chambers of the National Assembly are such that command security attention. They are people who had held very prominent and sensitive positions at various levels in the recent past. Having occupied such positions meant more security burden on the National Assembly to forestall eventuality of any sort.”

In a move to solve the security threat, a security sub-committee set up by Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Mohammed Sani Omolori, had  recommended that “an arms bearing elite force be established for the National Assembly.”

Also in late 2019, a 12-member adhoc committee was set up to work out some remedial measures for the National Assembly. Headed by the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr Mohammed Sani Danwalis, a retired Brigadier General, the committee recommended series of measures, which it was learnt, were yet to be implemented.

Some of the recommendations included the rationalisation of banks and other business outfits whose operations are neither incidental nor complementary to the functions of the National Assembly, the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives should prevail on legislators to submit themselves to security checks, especially at the point of entry into the National Assembly, security clearance should be a major requirement for disengaging legislative aides,renewal of identity cards for legislative aides annually, Directorate of Human Resources and Staff Development should maintain a data base of all staff, legislative aides and legislators which should be shared with all security agencies, management of the National Assembly should advise security chiefs to desist from bearing arms within the precincts of the assembly, and that the Directorate of Research and Information, in conjunction with security agencies, must ensure that journalists covering the National Assembly are accredited yearly.”