The main headlines of the mainstream Nigerian newspapers for Thursday, April 19, are focused on the invasion of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, April 18, by thugs who escaped with the mace and the outrage following it.
The Guardian reports that it was commotion in the National Assembly yesterday as armed thugs stormed the Senate, overpowered the security men and forcibly took away the mace around 11:30 a.m.
The mace is the symbol of authority of the legislature, without which the Senate cannot commence a legislative session.
The invaders, numbering 12, came in three Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) which were parked in front of the National Assembly building that houses the two chambers.
Punch reports that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who was accused by the Senate of being behind the invasion, was whisked away as he stepped out of the chamber.
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It was said that he was arrested by policemen led by the commissioner of police, FCT Command, Sadiq Bello, who was accompanied by the Divisional Police Officer, National Assembly Police Division, A. Sulu-Gambari.
The lawmaker was marched from the door of the chamber into a police waiting pick-up with number plate, 840 NPF, and was whisked out of the premises.
This Day reports that sources, however, disclosed that the plot to disrupt plenary Wednesday was concluded on Monday night at a meeting by the now proscribed Parliamentary Support Group, made up of ardent supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, who had vetoed the Electoral Amendment Bill last month believed to be at the root of the invasion on the National Assembly.
Vanguard reports that Senator Ekweremadu, who held fort in the absence of Senate president, Bukola Saraki, yesterday evening, visited the Presidential Villa where he briefed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.
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The incident, which was the first recorded invasion of any of the chambers of the National Assembly immediately roused a nationwide uproar with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joining in the condemnation.
The Nation reports that former vice president Atiku Abubakar described the attack as a dangerous precedent and an assault on democracy by anti-democratic elements, saying: "I am utterly embarrassed, shocked and outraged by this ugly development because it it is not only a threat to a major democratic institution, but also represents a grave danger to the survival of our democracy."
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