Tension at National Assembly as DSS operatives attack two senior workers

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There was tension at the National Assembly on Friday following a clash between some operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and two senior legislative staff.

It was gathered that around the gate connecting the Senate’s new building to the White House section, two top civil servants were asked to identify themselves by DSS operatives stationed at the gate.

The two staff were later identified as John Nnadi of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and Chris Odoh, a deputy director.

Eyewitnesses said the staff simply flashed their ID cards, while the DSS operatives had asked them to identify themselves properly.

As senior staff of NASS, their attempts to proceed to the White House section from the Senate’s new building section were forcefully obstructed by the DSS operatives, resulting in chaos and outright physical assault on the duo by the DSS operatives.

Efforts to stop the DSS from manhandling the staff proved abortive as more personnel joined to physically deal with the staff.

An eyewitness who preferred not to be named  said the DSS personnel “forcefully dragged Nnadi and Odoh” to their office within the National Assembly Complex, a development that attracted the attention of passersby and staff of the United Bank Bank for Africa (UBA), Senate Committee on Public Accounts and journalists from the Senate Press Centre whose offices were along the way.

While listening to the appeal from the DPO and the Deputy Clerk, one of the assaulted staff members, John Nnadi, stormed out of the DSS office, shouting that the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal, must be informed about the injustice and intimidation they were subjected to by the DSS operatives.

His suggestion was spontaneously accepted by the crowd, who joined him in marching to the office of the CNA, where they chanted “We will not tolerate this intimidation by DSS” for about 15 minutes before dispersing, as the CNA was not in the office at that time.

Upon returning to the lobby, the DPO made further appeals to the assaulted staff and others, urging them to allow peace to prevail as his office and that of the DSS were already comparing notes on what transpired.

“My appeal to everyone at this point, particularly Mr. John Nnadi, is that we should all return to our offices. John Nnadi should go to the clinic for a medical check-up to assess any injury that may have been inflicted on him during the alleged physical assault,” the police chief said.

“Gathering here and chanting solidarity songs will not rectify any wrongdoing that may have occurred, but going to the clinic for medical examination and potential documentation of any injury from the alleged assault will assist in building a case,” he added.

The assaulted Nnadi later joined by Odoh proceeded to the clinic, clearing the way for the agitated crowd to disperse at around 12:35pm.

The article was originally published on Politics Nigeria.

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