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Soldiers stop, search Tambuwal's car in Kaduna

By The Citizen

There was a near clash between security details attached to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and soldiers at the entrance to the Hotel 17 in Kaduna on Monday.

The hotel served a venue for the international conference on security and development challenges of pastorialism in West and Central Africa.

The conference had as its theme 'The role of pastoralists in preventing insurgency and conflicts for sustainable peace and national security', and organised by the office of the National Security Adviser in the Presidency.

In spite of the visibility of the flag and the coat of arms on the official car conveying the Speaker, the soldiers insisted they had to search the Speaker's car at the gate.

At this point, the Speaker, who arrived at the venue at about 9.20am ahead of other dignitaries, was subjected to thorough search, forcing the security details of the speaker to protest. But the protest fell on deaf ears as the soldiers stood their grounds.

The development forced the Speaker, who was visibly angry, out of the car and walked for about 50 meters into the conference hall, leaving behind his official car.

A security official, who witnessed the incident and craved for anonymity, described the scene as unbelievable.

He noted that as one that had put in reasonable numbers years in service, he had yet to witness such an embarrassing situation.

'We never knew it was the Speaker coming but on getting closer, I discovered that it was the Speaker. I overheard one of the soldiers saying they must search the car. But the security officials attached to the Speaker protested. They were rebuffed by the soldiers. I saw the Speaker came down and walked away,' he said.

When contacted, Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media, Imam Imam, who confirmed the incident, said it was highly unusual for security operatives to search an official car of the Speaker.

Describing the incident as unfortunate, the speaker's spokesman noted that the action of the soldiers could undermine the nation's democracy.

He said, 'What they are doing is 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 and sanctity of  both the legislature and the executive arms of government must be protected at all times. If it cannot be protected, then it is unfortunate. Punch