Scores of physically challenged persons from the Niger Delta region on Thursday stormed the National Assembly complex in Abuja, protesting alleged neglect by their representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives
Though resisted by the security operatives within the assembly complex, the people forced themselves inside.
Their invasion disrupted various activities at the parliament, as they ran around the complex chanting, ‘We no go gree, you must kill us, stop neglecting us and so on.’
The chants attracted some lawmakers from both chambers of the National Assembly, led by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi who appeared to calm frayed nerves after about an hour.
Speaking to the lawmakers, the Spokesman of the physically challenged persons, Amos Etim explained that they came to the National Assembly to demand their rights from their representatives.
He said all efforts to reach them at their various constituency offices failed, the reason why they resorted to coming to the national assembly.
He said: ”We came all the way from Niger Delta to Abuja because we cannot access our representatives here in the National Assembly. Even when they come to the village, they use entourage. It’s very hard. We are from various states across the nine Niger Delta region. We wrote a letter to the deputy senate president Omo-agege,
”We demanded to meet with one of the Niger Delta Senators, Senator Manager and he asked us what are we doing in this place, that we don’t have any right to come to Abuja. A whole Senator is telling the less privileged to our face to go back to the village. Senate President advised us that we should copy the letter we gave omo-agege to share it to cut across all the Niger Delta Senators so they will all look into it and do something tangible for us.
”We are angry, Christmas is coming and this week is their last week to sit and after that chambers will be closed till January. So we decided it’s time to take the law into our hands. We came and met the Senate President car and sat on it, so he won’t be able to move. He told us that yesterday all the Niger Delta Senators will have a meeting with us that we should exercise patience and allow him to go. He gave us 50 thousand for transport and we listened to him and left.
”We were asked to send ten names and we did, he called us to tell us that they have received the list. The next morning we told them that we are coming, but they said no-till 2:30 pm. We patiently waited till then and they said it was a mistake. We believe they are scamming us because we don’t have legs, hands. So we came here, when we arrived the security men refused to allow us to enter, we said this person will kill us today. We managed to climb the gate to enter. The security sprayed tear gas at us, one of us fainted. We demand our Christmas package that’s all.”
Responding, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi assured that their demands evaluated.
He said, ”We are here on behalf of the Senate, yesterday we were supposed to see you but there was a mistake in the timing, by the time you came we have finished sitting and left, it’s not that we didn’t plan to see you, that was why you were told eleven to twelve today and as you can we are here. We want you to calm down so we can understand ourselves. We have heard your demand, the entire Senate is sitting right now.
The National Assembly respects people in your condition. We are taking you seriously, nobody is scamming you. Please calm down.”
Speaking to Journalists in tears, one of the people who gave his name as Innocent alleged that a sergeant-at-arms injected him with a needle as they were trying to force their way into the complex.
‘He said, ”We are tired, we wrote to Niger Delta ministry, humanitarian and so on but nobody to help. Why are they treating us like this? They injected me, I almost fainted, my colleagues poured me water before I got myself. How can you inject a deformed person? I don’t know what they injected me with”, he said.
Vanguard News Nigeria