April 19, 2018 / 10:03 AM / a year ago

Nigerian police recover stolen parliamentary mace

FILE PHOTO: A view shows part of the parliament house in Abuja, Nigeria July 19, 2017. Picture taken July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s police have recovered a ceremonial mace stolen from the country’s parliament when at least three men burst onto the Senate floor and grabbed it while lawmakers looked on, police said on Thursday.

A police search “forced the suspected miscreants to abandon the mace at a point under the flyover before the City Gate, where a patriotic passer-by saw it and alerted the police”, said police in the capital.

A spokesman for the upper chamber blamed Wednesday’s incident on a suspended senator.

Decisions taken in the Senate cannot be approved without the ornamental staff, which symbolises the authority of the legislature, but the upper house resumed proceedings shortly after the theft by using a spare mace.

The theft of the mace came amid the backdrop of heightened political campaigning in Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, ahead of presidential and gubernatorial elections early next year. President Muhammadu Buhari said last week that he will stand for re-election.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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