N’Assembly Security Arrest Workers, Aides For Carting Away Valuable Items

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Security officials attached to the National Assembly, Abuja, have arrested some workers and legislative aides of some lawmakers for looting and carting away valuables in their bosses’ offices.

The items include television sets, cabinet shelves, electronics, computers, printers, furniture, air conditioners, rugs and carpets, and solar power systems.

NigeriaCheck Newspaper learnt that some outgoing and re-elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives are also involved in movement of the items out of their offices and residences, as it had become a tradition that new items would be bought for every member of the 10th National Assembly.

However, some vigilant security personnel, manning the National Assembly Complex, who observed the situation, have arrested some workers and legislative aides for attempting to move out some of the items without the necessary permits.

Reacting the development, the Sergeant-at-Arms at the National Assembly, Chuks Obaloje, confirmed the incident, but could not provide detailed information.

“Yes, some people were arrested while trying to go out with some items from the National Assembly. But I wasn’t on duty on the day it happened, so I can’t provide you with details. Please contact the Crime Division of the National Assembly,” Obaloje told our correspondent when contacted on Friday.

The Divisional Police Officer in-charge of the National Assembly Complex, Alex Annagu, declined to comment on the incident.

He said it was not in his place to speak on the incident and directed us to the police spokesperson.

He said, “If you want any information on that, please report to the police headquarters. We report to the police headquarters.

“Please, please and please, I’m not obliged to say anything to you on that. You know where to call and get the information you need. Call the headquarters and get your facts from there.”

However, the Police Spokesperson for the Federal Capital Territory Command, Josephine Adeh, said she could not give details as she had been unable to reach the DPO.

“I have not been able to reach the DPO to give you details of the case and I am on duty outside, so I can’t give anything concrete until I speak with the DPO,” she said.

Reacting to the incident, Director of Information, National Assembly, Rawlings Agada, said the occurrence and arrest of the culprits proved the effectiveness of the National Assembly security personnel.

He noted that some people were stopped and not allowed to go out with items that were not assigned to their offices.

Agada said, “I don’t want people to sensationalize the issue. What happened was that people were stopped from going out with items that were discovered not to be theirs.

“A pass was issued for the items and accredited to each office. The pass has a list of items that should be taken out from each office, so if an item that was not on the list was found, such would not be allowed to go out.

“And just as you were checked and cleared to come in, you also need to be checked and cleared when going out.”

Commenting on the items being moved out from the lawmakers’ office, Agada confirmed that they now belonged to the legislators.

According to him, an arrangement was reached with the management of the National Assembly and the items were sold to the lawmakers.

Agada noted, “The items are now for the lawmakers. They were sold to the lawmakers at a depreciating value.

“The items have already depreciated; the new set of lawmakers will not want to be the ones to use those items. So, in wisdom, the items, including the vehicles, are valued and sold to the lawmakers.”

We observed that almost all the offices of the lawmakers had been emptied leaving very few seats for them to use after plenary sessions.

NigeriaCheck News noticed the exercise continued till late at about 8pm on Thursday night.

According to a legislative aides, all the items belonged to the senators and representative members, as many personally bought them to furnish their offices to their preferred taste.

He said, “The lawmakers are the owners of the items; many of them bought some of these things, especially items like furniture of their preferred taste, to suit their preferences.

“The items are theirs; for instance, some of them didn’t like the carpets in their offices and bought theirs, so, the items do not belong to the National Assembly.”

When asked if the lawmakers bought the printers, computers and solar panels as well, the aide declined further comments.

Another Assembly worker, who corroborated his colleague, said there was an arrangement between the lawmakers and the National Assembly to buy the items at discounted rates.

The source said, “The lawmakers usually buy all the items from the National Assembly at discounted prices and such money is often discounted from their severance allowance afterward.

“The items are often cleared by the National Assembly and a pass is issued listing all the items each lawmaker is allowed to move out.

“Some of them gifted some of the items to their aides and committee members, as parting gifts.”

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