Tear­gas fired at par­lia­men­tar­i­ans

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

ABUJA: Nige­rian se­cu­rity forces fired tear­gas inside the par­lia­ment com­plex yes­ter­day as op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers, in­clud­ing the Speaker of the lower House, ar­rived for a key vote on emer­gency rule in the north-east.

The leader of the Se­nate, David Mark, later or­dered the im­me­di­ate clo­sure of both cham­bers un­til next week over the in­ci­dent.

Mul­ti­ple re­ports, in­clud­ing from wit­nesses, in­di­cated that se­cu­rity agents tried to block House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Speaker Aminu Tam­buwal, who de­fected to the op­po­si­tion last month, from en­ter­ing the build­ing.

The rul­ing Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) has tried to re­move Tam­buwal from the Speaker’s chair since his de­fec­tion and stripped him of his se­cu­rity de­tail.

Law­mak­ers had been sched­uled to vote yes­ter­day on Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan’s re­quest to ex­tend the state of emer­gency in the north-east re­gion hit hard­est by Boko Haram in­sur­gents.

Mem­bers of Tam­buwal’s All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) party have de­scribed the state of emer­gency first im­posed in May last year as a fail­ure be­cause of es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence, and ar­gued it should not be re­newed.

A wit­ness, who works at par­lia­ment but re­quested anonymity, said po­lice first fired tear­gas as Tam­buwal and other APC law­mak­ers tried to en­ter the gate out­side the par­lia­ment build­ings.

The law­mak­ers man­aged to en­ter the gate and headed to­ward the main lobby, he said, adding: “Po­lice fired tear­gas again.”

Po­lice spokesman Em­manuel Ojukwu de­nied that po­lice of­fi­cers were in­volved.

Se­nate pres­i­dent Mark said: “Be­cause of the very un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent… I have de­cided that I will shut down the Na­tional Assem­bly un­til Tues­day.” Mark, who is a PDP stal­wart, said there would no vote yes­ter­day on Jonathan’s re­quest to ex­tend emer­gency rule. – Sapa-AFP

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