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Thursday, May 23, 2024

How can order and security be maintained in parliament?

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Abubakar Sulaiman, the director-general of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), says Sergeant-At-Arms should be fortified for a secured legislature across the country. Mr Sulaiman, a professor, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at a workshop for Sergeant-at-Arms, Chamber Assistants, Para-Military Personnel, and Legislative Aides from the National Assembly and some state assemblies.

A sergeant-at-arms is an officer appointed by a parliament to ensure order during its proceedings and other parliamentary activities.

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Mr Sulaiman said that Nigeria, a major player in global affairs and a leading nation in Africa, was faced with insecurity

Insecurity, according to him, manifests through violent extremism, communal conflicts, insurgency, banditry, kidnappings, hunger and poverty.

The DG said though the legislature was positioned to address the challenges using its functions of lawmaking, oversight, and representation, it was pertinent that they did so in a secure and peaceful environment.

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He said that Section 12 Subsection 2 of the National Assembly Service Commission Act, 2014, provides that “the Sergeant-At-Arms and other security personnel of the National Assembly Service shall be vested with all the powers, privileges, and immunities of police in performing their duties.

He said that despite the legal provision, training and capacity-building for Sergeant-At-Arms had not received the needed attention in this direction.

“The legal framework for the Sergeant-At-Arms also needs to be strengthened to enhance the preventive and responsive stance of the Sergeant-At-Arms to any form of crisis within the legislature and for legislators.

“In the event of the kind of uprising experienced in the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021, it is unlikely that the present state of readiness of the institution of the Sergeant-At-Arms in our legislature will be able to curtail such situation from escalating.

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“It is therefore pertinent to continue to commit resources to the training of the institution of the Sergeant-At-Arms as the nucleus of the security architecture of the legislature,” he said.

In his remarks, a Chamber Assistant in the National Assembly, Ikechukwu Alaribe, recalled that on 18 April 2018, hoodlums invaded the Senate chambers and made away with the mace, the symbol of authority.

He said that Rivers, Plateau, and Edo Houses of Assembly, among others, had been invaded at different times, and several havocs were recorded.

“Effective security management in the legislature for the sergeant-at-arms is a very noble training for us; this is all-important, it is very timely,” he said.

ALSO READ: Insecurity: Jonathan, Abdulsalami, Ooni, others back state police

He commended the leadership of the institute for organising the training and for the effective running of programmes and mandate implementation.

Also speaking, Akande Olawale, a sergeant-at-arms from Ogun State House of Assembly, said the training was very important for the men and officers of the legislature.

He said that it would lead to speedy growth and maturity of democracy in the country, thereby positioning the country for improved dividends.

Mr Olawale said that such training would also prepare the country for the introduction of state police for overall security.

Other state assemblies represented at the workshop included Bauchi, Plateau and Taraba.

(NAN)

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