Pandemonium Erupts in National Assembly Over DSS Brutality

Pandemonium engulfed the White House segment of Nigeria’s National Assembly (NASS) on Friday morning following the brutalization of two senior staff members by operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS). The incident, which occurred around 11:45 am, involved John Nnadi, a staff member of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), and Chris Odoh, a Deputy Director.

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Pandemonium Erupts in National Assembly Over DSS Brutality

The trouble began at the gate linking the Senate’s new building with the White House when the two staff members were asked to identify themselves by DSS operatives manning the gate. Despite flashing their identity cards, the DSS personnel deemed the identification insufficient and prevented Nnadi and Odoh from proceeding.

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Eyewitnesses reported that the situation escalated as the senior staff members attempted to assert their right to pass, leading to physical confrontations. The DSS operatives forcefully blocked the two men, resulting in a scuffle that quickly turned violent. Passersby, including journalists and other staff members, attempted to intervene but were met with hostility from the DSS operatives. The situation intensified when four additional DSS personnel arrived and heavily assaulted the two National Assembly staff members.

The DSS operatives dragged John Nnadi and pushed Chris Odoh approximately 125 meters to their office in the White House. This forceful movement and the rough handling drew significant attention and sympathy from onlookers, including staff from Unity Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, and journalists from the Senate Press Centre.

Outraged by the public spectacle and the perceived injustice, National Assembly staff from various offices, including the Senate’s Mace bearer, gathered in front of the DSS office, demanding the immediate release of their colleagues. The scene quickly grew tense as the crowd threatened further action if Nnadi and Odoh were not released.

In an effort to defuse the situation, Alex Annagu, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the National Assembly, and Mrs. Ilobah Isabella, the Deputy Clerk to the Senate (Legislative), rushed to the scene to calm the agitated crowd. They urged everyone to return to their offices, assuring them that the matter was being addressed.

As the DPO and Deputy Clerk attempted to mediate, John Nnadi emerged from the DSS office, visibly agitated and calling for the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal, to be notified of the incident. His calls for action were met with enthusiastic support from the crowd, who marched with him to the CNA’s office, chanting protest slogans for about 15 minutes. The protest dispersed only after learning that the CNA was not in his office at the time.

Returning to the lobby, the DPO made further appeals for peace, emphasizing the need for medical examination over continued protests. “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 a medical check-up on any injury that may have been inflicted on him from the alleged physical assault,” he said. “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.”

Following the DPO’s advice, Nnadi, accompanied by Odoh, proceeded to the clinic, allowing the crowd to disperse around 12:35 pm.

This incident has raised serious concerns about the conduct of DSS operatives within the National Assembly premises and their interactions with legislative staff. The National Assembly authorities are expected to address the situation promptly to prevent a recurrence and ensure that staff members are treated with respect and dignity.

The brutalization incident also underscores the need for clear protocols and mutual respect between security personnel and National Assembly staff. Moving forward, the outcome of any investigations and subsequent actions taken will be closely watched by both the public and stakeholders within the National Assembly.

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