Several legislative aides and National Assembly workers have been apprehended by security officials stationed at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja. They were caught engaging in last-minute looting of lawmakers’ offices and stealing valuable items that belong to the second tier of government.
Among the looted items were television sets, cabinet shelves, electronics, computers, printers, furniture, air conditioners, rugs and carpets, as well as solar power systems.
Waffi TV discovered that outgoing and re-elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives were also involved in the removal of these items from their offices and residences, a customary practice to facilitate the purchase of new items for the incoming members of the 10th National Assembly.
However, alert security agents stationed at the National Assembly Complex detained some of the legislative aides who were attempting to remove items without the necessary permits.
Multiple sources confirmed that the suspects were apprehended while trying to exit the complex without passes for the items they were carrying.
The Sergeant-at-Arms at the National Assembly, Chuks Obaloje, acknowledged the incident but was unable to provide further details regarding the development.
“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 he was contacted on Friday.
Rawlings Agada, the Director of Information at the National Assembly, commented on the theft of items and expressed that the incident, as well as the subsequent arrest of the perpetrators, demonstrated the efficiency of the National Assembly’s security measures.
He highlighted that certain individuals were prevented from leaving with items that were not assigned to their respective offices.
Agada said, “I don’t want people to sensationalise 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 each item 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.”
Agada verified that the items being relocated from the lawmakers’ office now officially belonged to the legislators. He stated that an agreement had been reached between the National Assembly management and the lawmakers, resulting in the sale of the items to them.
Agada added, “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.”
According to a report from Waffi TV, lawmakers are currently vacating their offices and taking their personal belongings with them.
Nearly all of the lawmakers’ offices have been cleared out, leaving only a few remaining seats for their use after plenary sessions.
Various items such as television sets, cabinet shelves, electronics, computers, printers, furniture, air conditioners, rugs and carpets, and in some cases, solar power systems are being removed from the complex by some of the legislative aides.
Our correspondent noticed that the items were being transported out of the premises until late at night, with buses still carrying items away from the complex as late as 8 pm on Thursday.
One of the legislative aides, who spoke with our correspondent, explained that all of these items are the property of the senators and representatives, as they often purchase them to furnish their offices according to their personal preferences.
The aide 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.