A legal practitioner, George Ekeh, on Monday apportioned blame to the entourage of the House of Representatives speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, for the fracas which occurred at the National Assembly last Thursday, insisting that they had been unruly.
According to him, their unruly behaviour had proven that the intelligence report that hoodlums would cause mayhem at the National Assembly, as disclosed by the Police, was accurate and necessitated the security measures put in place.
Commenting on the issue on Sunrise Daily, Ekeh noted that the fracas was embarrassing to the entire nation, as it had attracted both local and international attention. He, however, insisted that although the footage of lawmakers scaling a gate was a sensation for both local and international media, “it is important for us to appreciate what happened by looking at it sequentially”.
He stressed that nobody was above the law and that self-help on the part of the lawmakers was not an option.
Lawmakers had scaled the gate of the National Assembly after security agents including the Police and SSS had barred them from gaining entrance and shot tear gas canisters at them.
The Police had explained that they had received security intelligence that there was going to be mayhem hence the measures put in place.
Ekeh backed the claim, noting that “even if we did not believe them, the situation that we found ourselves in vindicated whichever officer that gave that report; That indeed there was going to be mayhem and indeed there was mayhem”.
He noted that the police had the right to be at the National Assembly since it was their duty to maintain law and order.
However, footage of the fracas had revealed that the last gate leading to the chambers had been locked and police officers did not open to lawmakers who questioned their action.
Ekeh defended the action saying “they did not shut down the National Assembly. They were screening people. They had screened some people even if it was quite torturous.. David Mark himself said he was screened at three points”.
He claimed that the Speaker and the Representatives in his entourage had assembled, based on their perception of events, and “all of them came and obviously overwhelmed the police”
He added that the gate had been locked because the Representatives had become unruly, hence, interrupting the screening process at the gate.
Asked if it would have been out of place for the Police to have informed the leadership of the House of the intelligence report and the planned action, Ekeh argued that such announcement would depend on the strategy adopted by the Police.
“I don’t think that it behooves on the Police to first of all inform members and say we are going to screen you people.”
He noted that “if the Police said they were trying to fish out thugs, or hoodlums – thuggery is not a profession. It is the conduct of a person”, insisting that if the conduct of a lawmaker becomes unruly, “the police should be able to rein him in”.