Stolen Senate mace recovered under Abuja flyover

Nigerian police on Thursday found the stolen mace of the senate under a flyover in capital Abuja a day after it was stolen by hoodlums. Calling the theft an act of treason, the senate had given police 24 hours to retrieve the mace as parliament cannot function without the ceremonial symbol of its authority. Senate speaker carries it while entering and leaving the chamber. The hoodlums are said to have been hired by a senator who was suspended from upper house after a row over presidential election dates. In 2000, then-Senate speaker Cuba Okadigbo took the senate mace to his hometown after a dispute with his deputy over when the parliament should resume. Seizing the mace to express discontent with House proceedings is not restricted to Nigeria. Indian legislatures have witnessed several such scenes. On the last day of winter session in 2016, Opposition leader of Tripura state assembly Sudip Roy Barman seized the ceremonial mace and ran out in protest against the Speaker’s refusal to allow discussion on some issue. Last year, the neighbouring West Bengal state assembly witnessed a similar incident. During a scuffle over the passage of a Bill, a Congress lawmaker snatched the speaker’s mace and tried to run away. He was caught by a security guard and the mace was returned to the speaker.