A group of physically challenged persons from the Niger Delta were on Thursday tear gassed when they stormed the premises of the National Assembly to protest against “neglect” by their representatives.
Trouble started when the protesters demanded to see their representatives but were rebuffed.
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The aggrieved protesters forced themselves inside the complex despite resistance by security operatives at the National Assembly gate.
Their anger aggravated when security agents at one of the entrances to the National Assembly complex fired tear gas canisters at them.
The protesters refused to budge and remained at the entrance to the senate building.
One of the protesters undressed himself while daring the security men at the entrance to shoot him.
Another one blocked the COVID-19 screening door to prevent people from coming in.
The security men had a hectic time controlling the protesters who kept raining abuses on the lawmakers.
The atmosphere became charged when the protesters pounced on a member of the Sergeant at Arm for interrupting them.
One of the protesters pointed him as the one that instigated the policemen to fire tear gas at them.
He was beaten and his cloth torn before he was rescued by the policemen.
The spokesperson of the group, Emotonghen Azikwe, said the lawmakers had refused to grant them audience despite repeated letters to them.
He said: “On Monday, we were here and the Senate President intervened and asked the Senators to meet us on Tuesday.
“But they failed to meet us as agreed.
“Today, we came here and instead of meeting us, the security men maltreated us as if we are not human beings and citizens of this country.
“These are people that get money on our behalf and refuse to do anything.
“They don’t make laws to protect us, they only make laws to protect their interests.
“They must start paying us monthly stipends and declare a national day for us.”
Deputy Whip of the senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who led other lawmakers to meet the protesters, appealed for calm, assuring that their grievances will be addressed.
He asked the aggrieved protesters to delegate a five-man team to meet the National Assembly leaders to press home their demands.
He also assured them that their demands will be accommodated in the 2021 budget.