The Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Biodun Olujimi; one of her aides and the Provost of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, Mr. Kingsley Oti, on Monday engaged in physical combat over the right to use an elevator in the National Assembly Complex.
The fight, which broke out around 11.15am on the ground floor of the New Senate Wing of the building, lasted for about 20 minutes and led to the disruption of the congress being held by members of PASAN in Room 231 on the second floor of the building.
There are four pairs of elevators in the four-storey building, with one of each of the pairs dedicated to lawmakers.
The reserved lifts are usually manned and operated by sergeants-at-arm on plenary days.
Olujimi was seen being guarded away from the venue of the congress by PASAN members, where she was booed, with several members calling her unprintable names.
Olujimi, in her account, alleged that Oti was unruly when her aides prevented him from using the elevator, which was reserved for members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Speaking to our correspondent after the incident, she said, “What even angered me was the security man standing before me (in the elevator). He (Oti) got angry that the man was blocking him from gaining entrance into the lift. And they (Oti and others) started to hit him and tore his shirt.”
The lawmaker stated that she was not slapped as reported but that she was accidentally hit when her aide, an indigene of Ekiti, and Oti engaged themselves in a fisticuff and she intervened.
She said, “I called him and said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He said they (workers) own this place. It was not really about me, it was about if it was right for a member of staff to assault anybody. I insisted that he must follow me to the authorities. They beat up the security man and tore his shirt. For what? Because he was doing his job?
“I told them that I am a politician and I’m not afraid of anyone of them. If I was afraid, I wouldn’t have been here.”
Olujimi later told our correspondent that his security aide had reported the matter at the Police Division of the National Assembly.
“I have also reported to those who should know,” she added.
Oti, in his account, denied assaulting Olujimi but alleged that the lawmaker tore his shirt. The PASAN leader, however, admitted that he engaged her security aide in a fight when he slapped him.
He said he had waited for the elevator along with some others on the ground floor. Oti said he joined the elevator together with a male and a female colleague but he was challenged by one of Olujimi’s aides.
Oti said, “He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ And I also asked him, ‘Who are you?’ They were two and the other one slapped me. Of course, I had to return the slap and there was a fight between me and the guy. It was after the fight that the woman – the senator – now held me and pulled my shirt. Look at it (four buttons missing), I had to use pins to hold my shirt. I don’t know what her intention was. That was all.
“The guy was the one who slapped me because I responded to his question with his question; she was the one who tore my shirt. She was like, ‘You’re the one fighting my aides. I said, ‘Madam, your people prevented me. I am the provost of our association. After she tore my shirt, there was a crowd but people advised me to let the matter go.”
Members of the PASAN were heard at the venue threatening to shut down the National Assembly should anything be done against Oti.