Following the incident at the parliament complex on Thursday where Nigerian security forces fired teargas, as opposition lawmakers tried to force their way into the premises, Senate President David Mark has ordered the closure of the national assembly.
The lawmakers belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) had stormed the national assembly complex in the company of Speaker House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal, for a key vote on emergency rule in the northeast. But they were denied entry by the policemen, who fired tear gas at the Speaker and other lawmakers in the process.
Lawmakers had been scheduled to vote Thursday on President Goodluck Jonathan’s request to extend the state of emergency in the northeast region hit hardest by Boko Haram.
Tambuwal, who defected to the APC has been asked to leave his position as Speaker as he no longer belong to the party with the majority in the House, according to the constitution.
In defence of their action, the Nigeria Police Force said that Tambuwal was blocked from entering the National Assembly to forestall the breakdown of law and order, as an intelligence report pointed at a possible invasion of the National Assembly by hoodlums.
“Following an intelligence report of a likely invasion of the House of Representatives by hoodlums and thugs, the Nigeria Police Force promptly deployed its personnel to the premises to prevent a breakdown of law and order,” according to a statement by CP Emmanule Ojukwu, Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters.
“Consequently, the Police condoned the area and began screening of all members and visitors alike.
“In the course of this lawful exercise, Alh. Aminu Tambuwal CFR, arrived the venue with a motley crowd, who broke the cordon, assaulted the Police and evaded due process and the Police had the duty to restore order and normalcy, using lawful means.
“The IGP seizes this medium to warn all political actors and their followers to respect constituted authority and due process and to desist from the use of thugs to pursue their agenda.
“The Nigeria Police shall continually apply all lawful means to prevent a breakdown of law and order in all segments of the society and shall apply the full weight of the law on any political actor who violates the peace and security of the nation,” the statement read.