A snake burst onto the chamber floor of a state parliament building in southwest Nigeria, sending lawmakers scampering and forcing an indefinite recess, officials said Friday.
“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 Olugbenga Omole, a spokesman for lawmakers from Ondo State.
The snake appears to have fallen from the roof into the plenary chamber. It did not bite anyone before it was caught and killed by parliament staff, said Omole.
He blamed the incident on the dilapidated state of the assembly due to a lack of funds and overdue maintenance.
“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.
He said lawmakers would not return until a proper fumigation of the complex was done.
This was the first time a snake was known to have made an appearance in the assembly floor, though there have been complaints of rodents and reptiles in the bushes around the complex.
Omole did not say what type of snake caused Thursday’s disturbance.
Nigeria has many snakes, including venomous vipers, spitting cobras and puff adders.
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.
One in eight die.
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.