Hoodlums yesterday broke into the Ogun State House of Assembly and reportedly stole the mace; its symbol of authority. However, the Assembly and the police disagreed on whether the mace was stolen or not. While the Assembly said the mace was intact, the police claimed the hoodlums went away with it. This occurred barely a week after Governor Dapo Abiodun presented the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the House for approval. New Telegraph learnt that the Assembly could not sit yesterday because of the stolen mace.
“The sitting is not sure,” a source in the Assembly said, but was silent on the reason why the House did not sit. The source said it was the second time in the last three weeks that hoodlums had broken into the Assembly complex.
When New Telegraph visited the Assembly located a few metres from the Governor’s Office, on the premises of the State Secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, security agents denied journalists access into the complex, citing “an order from above”.
“We don’t want to see journalists here today. We are not entertaining visitors today. “There was an order from the clerk that we shouldn’t allow any journalists to enter the Assembly complex today.
After all, you have always had unfettered access into the complex. But today, we have been given an order not to allow any journalists into the premises,” an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) told our correspondent.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the state Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, had earlier visited the Assembly for an onthe- spot-assessment. He said: “Yes, there is an unfortunate incident today in the Assembly complex.
The hoodlums broke into the Assembly through the ceiling, and removed the official mace of the house. That is why the Commissioner of Police had to go there for an on-the-spot-assessment”. Oyeyemi, however, said no arrest had been made but the police had recovered the head of the mace. He added: “Now, the head of the mace has been recovered and investigation has commenced. The CP has directed the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID) to take over the investigation. “We are getting some clues on the perpetrators of the incident and very soon we will get everyone that partook in that dastardly act.
“You know the mace, a tail end that has the coat of arms symbol, that one has been recovered. We are looking at every possible clue.” But the spokesman for the Assembly, Hon. Yusuf Adejojo, denied that the mace was stolen. Adejobi said the mace was in a safe place in the Assembly. He said: “To the best of my knowledge, the last sitting that we had was last Thursday which I’m sure everybody was aware of and witnessed the presence of the mace.
“As at this minute, I cannot confirm such information to you. I’m sure it should be in a safe area where it was kept after our last sitting.” Adejobi also said the Police Commissioner, Ajogun, had the right to visit anywhere in the state, including the Assembly.
He added: “As the Commissioner of Police, he is meant to ensure the security and safety of the state. The police are meant to move anywhere in the state to provide security. So, their presence in the House of Assembly doesn’t mean that the mace has been stolen. “The directive from the clerk, is it written or verbal? Because we should be sure of the information we want to start sharing…. “To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing of such and the Speaker’s office cannot be burgled and he will still be attending a public function.”