Pandemonium at NASS over brutalisation of overzealous DSS operatives


By Haruna Salami

Pandemonium engulfed the White House segment of the National Assembly ( NASS) on Friday over brutalization of two senior staff by personnel from Department of State Services (DSS).

Trouble came the way of the two senior staff of the National Assembly at about 11:45am at the gate linking the Senate new building and white House when they were asked to identify themselves by DSS operatives manning the gate.

Eye witness accounts said the two staff, Mr. John Nnadi of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and Chris Odoh, a Deputy Director, flashed their Identity cards to the DSS operatives but were stopped for not identifying themselves properly.

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As senior staff of NASS, attempts made by them to proceed to the White House segment from the Senate new building were forcefully blocked by DSS operatives which resulted into rough handling from both ends and outright physical assault from the DSS operatives.

Efforts made by passersby, including reporters to resolve the crisis, infuriated the DSS operatives who after being joined by four other personnel, descended heavily on the two affected staff by dragging John Nnadi and pushing the Deputy Director (Chris Odoh) to their office at the White House.

However, the forceful movement and dragging of John Nnadi and Chris Odoh to DSS office by its operatives from the linking point, about 125 metres drew the attention of sympathetic staff of the Unity Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), staffers of Senate committee on Public Accounts and journalists from the Senate Press Centre whose offices were along the way.

Miffed by the embarrassing scene, staff of the National Assembly from various offices at the White House, including the Mace bearer in the Senate, spontaneously gathered at the front of the DSS office and threatened fire and brimstone if the two arrested senior staff were not released immediately.

In a trouble-shooting effort, the DPO in the National Assembly, Alex Annagu and Deputy Clerk to the Senate (Legislative) Mrs. Ilobah Isabella, hurriedly rushed to the scene to calm frayed nerves by appealing to everybody to return to his or her office.

While listening to the appeal from the DPO and Deputy Clerk, one of the brutalized staff (John Nnadi ) stormed out of the DSS office by shouting that the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal , must be notified of the injustice and intimidation the DSS operatives subjected him and the Deputy Director to.

Mr. Nnadi’s suggestion was spontaneously accepted by the crowd by joining him to march to the CAN’s office where they chanted “we no go gree o, we no go gree”, to this intimidation by DSS for about 15 minutes before dispersing, since the CNA was not in the office then.

On getting back to the lobby, the DPO made further appeals to the brutalized staff and others that peace should be allowed to reign as his office and that of the DSS were already comparing notes on what happened.

“My appeal to all at this point, particularly Mr. John Nnadi, is that we should all return to our offices while John Nnadi goes to the clinic for medical checkup on any injury that may have been inflicted on him from the alleged physical assault.

“Gathering here and chanting solidarity songs will not right whatever wrongs that might have been committed, but going to the Clinic for medical examination and possible establishment of any injury from the alleged assault, will help in establishing a case”, he said.

The appeal worked as the assaulted John Nnadi who was later joined by Chris Odoh (a Deputy Director), thereafter, went to the clinic, paving the way for the enraged crowd to disperse at about 12:35pm.

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