Dogara said this while presenting the keynote address at a conference in Abuja, organized by the National Institute for Legislative Studies on Re-structuring Sergeant-at-Arms and Parliamentary Security.
He mentioned that the pan-African conference is innovative and timely considering the spate of insecurity in the country and the National Assembly.
According to him, “it should be noted that parliamentary security and national security are inextricably linked. The legislature cannot function and contribute to democratic governance and development without a secure and stable environment and there can be no effective national security without a strong legislature to promote and sustain them.”
The Speaker said that there are legal frameworks in Nigeria for discussing the topic of Sergeant at Arms and National Assembly Security and “that there should be an appropriate recommendations on resolving the legal relationship between all the security Agencies. If push comes to shove, who has ultimate authority for security at the National Assembly.
“Can the Police override directives of the Sergeant-at-Arms especially with respect to public order and public security? Can the Sergeant at arms department set up departments in conflict with the traditional duties of the Police Force and State Security Service?”
He alluded to the security breach involving the former Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Waziri Tambuwal in 2014.
“Following police invasion of the National Assembly on November 20, 2014, and the withdrawal of both Police and Security details of the Speaker, is there a genuine case for VIP Protection of National Assembly Officials to be handled by the Sergeant at Arms? Are they trained for such a role?”
The Speaker suggested that a “restructured Sergeant-at-Arms will be responsible for all matters relating to physical security throughout the National Assembly and coordinate the activities of all security partners attached to NASS. This task can only be effectively undertaken if the personnel, training and structure of the Sergeant at arms is overhauled to meet international standards”.
Dogara assured Nigerians that the leadership of the National Assembly is committed to the shared responsibility of ensuring the safety of parliamentarians, employees, visitors and parliamentary estates.
“I am confident that a re-structured sergeant-at-arms will allow us to take this commitment one step further and place us in a better position to mitigate future threats while maintaining an open and secure Parliament.”