Central to Negia’s upper chamber of parliament is a ceremonial mace, a large ornamental staff that is a symbol of the legislature’s authority. The mace is crucial to proceedings as senate decisions cannot be approved without it.
On Wednesday, the Nigeria Parliament was in a state of uproar after some hoodlums invaded the senate chambers, caused a huge disruption and ran off with the mace. It was all captured on video (above).
The footage shows scuffles inside the upper chamber, which increased when the man ran off with the metre-long metal rod. The video below also shows the man running into a black SUV, which then drove off .
“Today, some hoodlums... seized the symbol of authority of the Upper Legislative, the mace,” said Senate media and public affairs chairman Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said in a statement. “This action is an act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the federal government of Nigeria by force and it must be treated as such.”
The Senate speaker traditionally carries the mace upon entering and leaving the chamber, and Parliament cannot convene without the ornamental staff. It is thus a long-established tactic in Nigeria to steal or seize the mace to express discontent with parliamentary proceedings. However, a spare mace was brought in and the sessions continued.
The Senate accused a suspended senator, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, of sending the thugs for the theft and had him arrested the same afternoon. He, however, denied the claims.