Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Nigerian security vote chaos as police fire teargas

21 November 2014, 07:07

Abuja - Nigerian police fired teargas inside parliament on Thursday, apparently trying to block opposition lawmakers, including the speaker of the lower house, from entering for a key security vote.

In the fracas, lower house members rejected a government request to extend emergency rule in the northeast region hit hardest by Boko Haram, and announced that the special powers had expired.

The country's main opposition party had said it opposed prolonging the state of emergency, describing it as a complete failure that had failed to curb Islamist violence.

Also Read: Lawmakers claim state of emergency in northeast is over
Boko Haram were suspected of killing at least 45 people on Wednesday in an attack on the village of Azaya Kura in the Mafa area of Borno state, local government officials and residents said.

The caretaker chairman of Mafa local government area, Shettima Lawan called the attack, which also left at least 50 injured, "wicked and despicable".

Political tensions have ratcheted up before elections due in February next year and Senate President David Mark, a ruling party stalwart, ordered the immediate closure of both chambers over the teargas incident.

The focus of the police aggression appeared to be lower house speaker Aminu Tambuwal, whose defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last month outraged the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP has tried to remove Tambuwal from the speaker's chair and stripped him of his security detail.

Climbing gates

Tambuwal's spokesman Imam Imam said the speaker arrived at parliament at about 10:00 am (0900 GMT) before the vote on the emergency extension, which President Goodluck Jonathan said was vital to end the insurgency.

The APC has described the strategy as a complete failure, noting the huge Islamist gains in territory since emergency rule was first imposed in May 2013.

Imam said Tambuwal was moving in a convoy with more than 40 other lawmakers, which police repeatedly tried to stop as they approached the main gate of parliament.

The convoy pressed through several police barricades before officers locked the gate that leads into the parliament complex, he added.

Lawmakers began pushing aggressively on the bars to force their way through, with police looking on from the other side, television pictures showed.

Several scaled the gate and then walked with Tambuwal towards the legislative building.

"As soon as we got (to parliament), they insisted he will not enter the chamber," Imam told AFP.

Also Read: Police orders vigilante army to return to Yola

"It was in that midst of confusion that they now used the tear gas on the speaker" and other lawmakers, he added.

An AFP correspondent said the main lobby outside the lower house chamber was filled with tear gas, with bystanders choking as they tried to find their way outside.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said officers were acting on reports that "hoodlums and thugs" had planned an "invasion" of parliament.

He claimed that Tambuwal and his allies defied police orders, assaulted officers and were to blame for the escalation in tensions.

'Emergency rule over'

Senate president Mark described the chaos as "a very unfortunate incident" and closed both chambers of the National Assembly until Tuesday.

The PDP said in a statement that "the violence by some lawmakers" was "embarrassing" and distanced itself from the rumpus.

But House of Representatives spokesman Zakaria Mohammed said later that the chamber held a brief session before the parliament was shut and decided to reject the state of emergency extension.

"Emergency rule is over as far as we are concerned," he told AFP. No vote was taken and the decision came in a closed-door session.

Mohammed explained that the president was still free to deploy troops "to trouble spots" in the country.

The president needs approval from both chambers to secure an extension but losing the emergency powers has little practical impact on the fight against Boko Haram as its purpose was never spelt out.

Also Read: Lawmakers claim state of emergency in northeast is over

The PDP has found itself in uncharted waters in recent months following a wave of lawmaker defections to the APC.

While the PDP currently holds fragile majorities in both chambers, the situation has been in flux throughout the year.

The defection of Tambuwal was seen as blow to Jonathan, who had previously relied on a compliant lower house.

Human rights lawyer Jiti Ogunye said Thursday's fracas recalled the years after Nigeria's independence from Britain in 1960, when a divided civilian government was ultimately overthrown by the military.

"We are in a state of anarchy," he said. "This is how sad our democracy has turned."



Buhari facilitates with Afe at age 85

28 October 2016, 18:04

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...