There is anxiety in Nigeria’s National Assembly over security threat as the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has asked the security agencies to beef up the security measures at the National Assembly to avert any threat. The Witness can report
Speaking during an emergency meeting with top security officials on Tuesday in Abuja, Lawan disclosed that he has received a report of security threat to the National Assembly.
“Personally, I had a report from the DSS that we had a security threat. Many unknown and uninvited people came or are coming into the National Assembly complex and we felt we shouldn’t take this lightly,” he said at the meeting.
The Senate President added, “From today, we have to find a temporary solution to support the security arrangement here. We will find a more permanent solution by the time the entire environment is remodelled.”
In attendance were the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, and representatives of the Defence, Police, Civil Defence, Fire Service, and other security agencies.
Lawan stressed that the responsibility for ensuring security for all Nigerians was a collective for both the legislative and executive arms of government.
He noted that the lawmakers were working hard and round the clock, saying they have an active ad-hoc committee that was already engaging the security agencies.
“As principal officers of the National Assembly, or let me say in the Senate in this respect, our responsibility and obligation is to ensure that our senators, members of the House of Representatives, workers of the National Assembly, our visitors and indeed anyone who has a lawful business to do in this National Assembly are safe.
“For a very long time, this National Assembly will always have people who have no business coming here,” he said.
The Senate President added, “With the heightening insecurity in the country, the time has come for this National Assembly to be properly secured for members of the National Assembly to carry out their legislative and other functions, under a very safe atmosphere and of course, our workers, our visitors.”
“What that means is that, if someone has no business here, that person shouldn’t be in the National Assembly. Because we are a parliament, we are a place or an institution where our constituents who feel very strongly about any issue can come and express their opinions.
“Some will come for protests. Some will attend public hearings in the committee rooms. Some will visit the gallery or in some cases even enter the chamber when allowed to do so.
“And when you take security for granted, sometimes you may have a bitter experience. We don’t want to take for granted the safe corridor that we have had. At least nothing has happened.
“We don’t want to wait until something happened. This kind of discussions had taken place in the past. This is the Ninth Senate, we want to do it differently.”
Lawan said plans were underway for a better and permanent security architecture for the National Assembly.
He, however, clarified that nobody was advocating a blanket ban on the people with genuine reasons for visiting the National Assembly.
The Senate President also warned that any security officials found wanting in the line of duty would not be spared.
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