A Snake in the Assembly: Nigerian Lawmakers Flee After Reptile Falls Through the Ceiling
The lawmakers vowed not to return until the complex had been rid of reptiles and rodents.
Image for Representation. Credits: Getty Images.
Nigerian lawmakers have declared a state parliament building as unsafe for legislative business after they were forced to flee for their lives by a snake that fell from a rickety ceiling.
"When we were about to enter into plenary, a big snake just ran out of the chamber which disrupted our sitting and we had to hurriedly leave the chamber," said the lawmakers' spokesman Olugbenga Omole.
Omole said the snake appeared to have fallen from the roof of the Ondo State assembly into the plenary chamber on July 24. Luckily, it did not bite anyone before it was caught and killed by parliament staff, news agency AFP quoted him as saying.
A source at the Punch newspaper said that the Speaker and other lawmakers decided enough was enough after the ceiling seat caved in and almost fell on the Speaker’s head.
“The weak ceiling also fell on the seat of the parliamentary workers at the Assembly who sat in front of the Speaker,” the source was quoted as saying.
Fearing that another snake might fall into the chamber, the “Assembly ended the session abruptly and adjourned its sitting indefinitely until repairs would be carried out on the Assembly complex,” the publication reported.
"That chamber is no longer safe for legislative business and because of that, we decided to adjourn indefinitely. The house will be going on an indefinite recess," Omole said.
“We were about to sit again today (Thursday) when the ceiling caved in directly where Mr Speaker was sitting; we were agitated and when we looked around, we saw the damage that termite had done to most of the wood work in the chamber,” Omole said.
He blamed the incident on the dilapidated state of the assembly due to a lack of funds and overdue maintenance.
According to Pulse Nigeria, members of the assembly have been chased by the snakes during plenary “twice in one week.”
“One big snake” dropped from the ceiling on July 24, sending the lawmakers scampering. The next day as the ceiling caved in, the lawmakers ran in all directions, vowing not to return until the complex had been rid of reptiles and rodents.
A live snake brought an abrupt end to plenary in the Ondo State House of Assembly on Thursday, July 25, 2019. The snake dropped from the roof of the chamber, leaving lawmakers scampering for safety.#PulseWochitNews pic.twitter.com/O6lHzS8Ep7— Pulse Nigeria (@PulseNigeria247) July 26, 2019
According to a 2001 study published in the African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences, nearly 500 people per 100,000 of the population are bitten by snakes in Nigeria on average per year.
The different types of snakes found in Nigeria include venomous vipers, spitting cobras and puff adders.
Most people are bitten while farming, herding, or walking through bushy areas. Fewer than 10 percent of Nigeria's snake bite victims access a hospital for treatment.
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