Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two senators miss oath taking

Two senators, Alphonsus Igbeke and Abdu Umar Yandoma, were on Monday walked out of the National Assembly by security officials while others took their oath of office.

The senators -elect were denied oath taking following a letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to bar the duo because of a subsisting court order on their elections. INEC asked the National Assembly to discountenance the certificates of return issued to both aspirants the previous day.

Mr Igbeke was stopped due to a notice of appeal challenging his emergence as the elected representative of the Anambra North Federal Constituency.

Mr Igbeke is accused of forging the documents he presented to the court which led to a judgment that declared him the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the April 9th National Assembly election.

Mr Yandoma, a CPC senator elect from Katsina North Senatorial District, was denied oath taking on similar grounds. According to the June 4th letter from INEC signed by its secretary, Abdullahi Kaugama, Mr Yandoma was issued certificate of return contrary to an order of a Federal High Court in Abuja which is challenging the authenticity of his nomination as the party's candidate for the election.

Both men were sighted in the National Assembly on Sunday when the senators resumed for verification and identification and were subsequently issued with invites for the inauguration.

Brutal security force

Meanwhile, some people sustained injuries after security agents brutally forced back several journalists and hundreds of visitors from Monday's inauguration of the National Assembly conducted under extreme security.

Police used tear gas on journalists caught in an adjoining room to the venue of the event, and used batons on visitors, injuring at least two women.

Ahead of the inauguration that featured the swearing in of 469 lawmakers and hundreds of visitors,

Sergeant-at-Arms of the National Assembly said last week that the ceremony will be conducted under stern measures and warned that media coverage may be disallowed in many areas.

The police had six check points and shut all banks and food outlets within the vicinity for most part of the day.

As is becoming customary with key government functions in which brutish measures are adopted by the government, roads within the Three Arms Zone were shut, frustrating commuters while many repeated clashes between police and journalists created minor stampedes within the complex.

Hundreds of anti riot police and Nigeria Civil Defence team mounted security. Police officials said they were carrying out orders, not stating whose orders.

A middle aged woman was injured after being manhandled by police officials who were ordered by their superiors to double their efforts.

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