There was mild drama Monday as soldiers insisted on searching the car conveying the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, at the entrance to the Hotel Seventeen-venue of the international conference on security and development challenges of pastoralists in West and Central Africa held in Kaduna.
The soldiers on guard at the venue along Lafia Road in Kaduna, insisted on searching Tambuwal’s official car that was conveying him to the event, which also carried an official coat of arm.
It was gathered that the Speaker, who arrived the venue ahead of other dignitaries, was denied immediate access to the premises, even though his car’s official seal and flag were conspicuous. “Not even protest by his security aides could sway the soldiers,” said the source.
The sources told newsmen at the venue that in his bid to keep the situation from degenerating further, “Tambuwal angrily forced himself out of his car and walked into the hotel premises and into the conference hall, leaving behind his official car with the full complement of the Speaker’s flag and insignia of his office.”
Craving anonymity, a security agent at the scene described the incident as unbelievable, noting: “For the period I have been in the security service, I have never seen such an embarrassing situation.
“Initially, we never knew it was the Speaker coming but on getting closer, I discovered that it was he. However, I heard one of the soldiers say they must search the car. The security officials attached protested, but their protest fell on deaf ears. I saw the Speaker come down and walk away.”
His Special Adviser on Media, Imam Dalhatu Imam, who also confirmed the incident, said it was highly unusual for security operatives to search a staff car belong to the Speaker. Asked the import of such action for the nation’s democracy, Imam said the security agents were “undermining the legislature as a whole. It is not about the Speaker, but the institution.
“We are just urging them (security) to be mindful of the fact that the institution must be protected at all times. The constitution provides that the integrity of the Legislature and the Executive be protected at all times. If it cannot be protected, then it is unfortunate.”
According to him, the soldiers subjected the Speaker’s car to a search, using anti-bomb detectors, adding: “if the No.4 citizen of this country can be subjected to such treatment, only God knows what will happen.”