A Group of Men are Being Accused of Treason for Stealing the Nigerian Senate's Ceremonial Mace
They are said to have been led by a suspended member of the senate.
UPDATE 4/19:BBC Africa reports that the mace was found this morning under a flyover in Abuja. According to police "a patriotic passer-by saw it and alerted officers." The incident will lead to a "beefing up" of security at the embassy, says the police chief.
Continue for yesterday's story:
Just when you thought African politics couldn't get any crazier today, this happens:
A group of intruders stormed the Nigerian National Embassy on Wednesday morning and stole the ceremonial mace, reports BBC Africa. The incident is being called and act of "treason" by Nigerian authorities.
It caused a chaotic scene in the chambers this morning as men were seen fleeing with the staff.
"This action is an act of treason, as it is an attempt to overthrow a branch of the federal government of Nigeria by force, and it must be treated as such," said senate spokesman Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
He accused senator Ovie Omo-Agege—who was recently suspended over comments he made during a debate on eloectoral reform—of leading the armed group that stole the staff. Omo-Agege was immediately arrested following the incident. A video from the Guardian shows the exact moment when the staff was taken.
Though it is said that the senate cannot convene without the present of the staff, a source from the senate told OkayAfrica that members continued their session with a replacement mace put in place.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) led by President Buhari, also gave a statement regarding the incident. "APC hereby condemns this action and views it as an attack on our democracy and a desecration of the hallowed institution of the National Assembly," it read. "We therefore call on security agencies to take all necessary actions to recover the stolen mace and ensure that the perpetrators and their sponsors are brought to justice."
According to another report by BBC Africa, the Nigerian police force has been given 24 hours to find and retrieve the stolen mace.