The mace of the Gombe State House of Assembly forcefully taken away by its All Progressives Congress (APC) minority members during plenary on Thursday has been recovered, the police disclosed yesterday.
However, as one mace was recovered in Gombe, another was stolen in Abuja, the federal capital.
The mace of the legislative arm of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) is missing while part of the council’s chamber was destroyed after a tussle between the members on Thursday.
AMAC is one of the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In Gombe, the state police commissioner, Mr Tairu Shina Olukolu, said the mace was found by men of his command behind the National Industrial Court complex in Gombe town where it was abandoned.
He also disclosed that the vehicle used to whisk away the mace from the Assembly complex was also recovered.
The police commissioner, who disclosed this to journalists yesterday shortly after handing over the mace to the Speaker of the state Assembly, Nasiru Abubakar Nono, warned politicians to desist from criminal acts that would heat up the system unnecessarily in the name of politics.
Olukolu said that investigation was ongoing but that the police were yet to make any arrest.
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that some minority members of the state Assembly made away with the mace, which is the symbol of authority of the legislature, during plenary on Thursday while resisting attempts to impeach the house minority leader.
The Gombe State Assembly is dominated by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 16 members to APC’s eight.
Meanwhile, in the AMAC incident, the missing mace brought to fore the crisis that had engulfed the council’s hallowed chamber leading to calls for the impeachment of the speaker, Daniel Shanyibwa Michael, over gross misconduct.
Deputy Speaker Haruna Musa Saidu alleged that the speaker and the sergeant at arms took the mace away from the chamber.
“We have a meeting and the speaker pre-empted the House and took our mace, broke the door,” he said.
“The mace we used in today’s (Thurday’s) sitting was a substitute because our sergeant-at-arms took the first mace to the house of the Speaker. As we speak now, our mace is either in the custody of the sergeant-at-arms or the Speaker,” he said.
The motion for the impeachment of the Speaker was moved by the House majority leader, Yusuf Tahir Kadir, during a sitting yesterday.
Kadir stated that the Speaker had abused his office by taking unilateral decisions without consulting the members which, he said, amounted to impunity and gross abuse of privilege.
Kadir, in a copy of the petition made available to journalists yesterday, accused the Speaker of desecrating the legislative arm’s symbol of the authority by ordering the mace to be deposited in an unconstitutional and unauthorised location.
The embattled Speaker, however, said he had not done anything wrong.
“I know myself. I have not done anything wrong. I will answer the petition from A to Z because I know that my heart is clear,” he said.
… As Group Calls On Security Agencies To Take Charge
A pressure group in the state, the Gombe State Vanguard for Development, has condemned Thursday’s rancour at the State House of Assembly which led to the hijacking of the mace by members of the APC, saying it was a disservice to the institution of democracy in the state and the country as a whole.
“The APC leadership is trying to plunge the state into chaos, disarray and total anarchy in the name of politics,” the group said.
A statement issued yesterday by the leader of the group, Dahiru Hassan Kera, described the development as a bad omen for the country’s growing democracy and the peace being enjoyed in the state.
He said it was very unfortunate that the level of development achieved in the state’s political system as a result of the efforts of the present Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration led by Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, such a backward incident as that of Thursday should be perpetrated by the minority APC.
“The present actions and political engagements by the APC branch in Gombe State on the watch of its leader, Danjuma Goje, is prone to take us back to the olden and ugly trend of political barbarism and primitive culture of political bitterness,” he said.
Kera called on security agencies to wade in and save the state’s political system from thuggery and violence.
“We in the Gombe State Vanguard for Development condemn the ugly development as we call on all security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, check the activities of the APC in the state with a view to curtail a further breakdown of law and order.
“We believe that with this situation, danger looms for our hard-earned democracy and the peace being enjoyed in the state, which must not be allowed; it must be protected by all.”
The group called on the security agencies to investigate and prosecute all those indicted in the incident, adding that the interest of the state supersedes that of any individual or group.