Senate Declares IGP Persona Non Grata
The Senate Wednesday passed a vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
Apart from adopting a no confidence vote on the police boss, the upper chamber also declared Idris “enemy of democracy” who is not “fit to hold public office within and outside Nigeria.”
The resolution was sequel to the refusal of the IGP to personally appear before the upper chamber to brief lawmakers on the increasing spate of killings across the country and alleged inhuman treatment the police meted to Senator Dino Melaye.
For three times the police boss was invited by the Senate for “security briefing” and for three times the IGP ignored the invitation.
Wednesday’s non-appearance of the IGP for the Senate into emergency closed session to discussed what the upper chamber described as “an affront on it by the IGP.”
After over 30 minutes behind the door session, the senators emerged to vent their anger on the IGP.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who announced resolutions adopted at the closed session said: “Distinguished colleagues, the Senate in a closed session deliberated on the non-appearance of the IGP to the Senate in plenary after a series of invitations.
“The Senate noted that this amounted to a great disrespect to the institution and constituted authority.
“The Senate also notes that his earlier refusal to appear before its investigative committee was overruled by a court of competent jurisdiction just in April of this year.
“The Senate therefore views his persistent refusal (to appear before the Senate) as a great danger to our democracy.
“Therefore, the Senate resolved to declare the IGP as an enemy of our democracy and not fit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria.
“The leadership of the Senate was also mandated to look into the matter for further necessary action.”
The Senate had listed in its Order Paper for Wednesday “Security briefing: Briefing by the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
“The spate of killings across the country and the inhuman treatment of Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye.”
The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) read the item “That the Senate do receive the Inspector General of Police to brief this Distinguished Senate on the spate of killings across the country and the inhuman treatment of Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye over a matter that is pending before a competent law court.”
Saraki mandated the clerk, Nelson Ayewo, to go and usher in the IGP into the chamber.
That was not to be as the clerk returned to the chamber minutes later without the IGP.
Saraki announced to the obvious disappointment of the senators “I have just been informed that the Inspector-General of Police is not here or anybody in his team so I think we need to decide on the next line of action.”
Before then, the Senate had suspended it Order 18 to allow the IGP into its chamber
With announcement of the non-appearance of the IGP, subdued anger appeared to have descended on the chamber.
Senators were observed in clusters in the chamber apparently to discuss “the disregard of the institution of the Senate” by the police boss.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan’s report of his inability to reach the IGP did not help matter.
Lawan said, “For the past two days we have tried to reach the Inspector General of Police to inform him that he should be here today in keeping with our resolution. We have done that with chairman of Police Affairs Committee.
“Personally, I made attempts to call his line and I sent text messages that he should call me as soon as he was able to see my message.
“Clearly, the IG is not here. I think this is very unusual and very unfortunate. I personally feel that public officers should do what is in the interest of the public and where any public officers cannot do what is in the interest of the public, then there is no need for such an officer to continue to occupy that kind of police.
“This institution is now at a crossroad on this. I believe that a decision has to be taken on way forward. Even though we will always like our security agencies to come and brief us because of the current security situation in the country. But in a situation where there is consistent non-appearance by the IG, I don’t think it will make any further sense to continue to extend invitation until the Senate takes a different decision to make the situation better.”
Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, lamented he described as “national embarrassment.”
Bwacha said, “This is quite sad moment for Nigeria, not for the parliament but for our democracy that for the very first time the IG is disregard the institution of the Senate.
“Let me share or inform the Senate, I had the privilege or the grace to chair the House Committee on Police Affairs in the fifth National Assembly and I cannot imagine in my wildest imagination that such a thing could happen to the country’s highest lawmaking body.
“It is sad, it is inexcusable, unacceptable, it is condemnable and it calls for immediate action. We need to take a very serious action on the way forward.
“I suggest Mr. President let us have a closed-session for a very serious consideration on this matter. This is a national disgrace.”
On his part Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said, “Democracies die and it dies in two ways. It either dies abruptly or in bits and what is happening today in Nigeria is that democracy is dying in bits.
“It dies when people abuse governmental powers and all that we have seen today with the conduct of the Chief Law Officer of the Federation is nothing but an abuse of power.
“He has no respect for this institution and that is now a fact. There is actually no way we can dress it to say we should give him some more time.
“We can say that what he is doing is anything but an abuse of this institution, the federation and himself even in the eyes of the international community.
“This morning I watched someone who was a police officer in Britain and what he said was germane to what we are saying here.
“He said if the Chief Law Officer cannot obey the law of the land how do you now say to other people who are miscreants should obey the law.
“I also want to agree with some of our colleagues who have said that we should go into a close door session and agree whether we will accept this insult to the President of the Federation because he is an appointee of the President and if he disobeys the law he is doing it against the President.
“I want to appeal to us to remember that if we do not deal with this abuse of power all of us are going to regret it because there is nothing to stop anybody else from doing what he likes in this country.”
Senator Isah Hamman Missau, (Bauchi Central) recalled that “I made mention that there is problem with the leadership of the police.”
Missau continued, “On official capacity, there is no any person here that is not bigger than the IG constitutionally. Anybody here can invite the IG officially, because by the Constitution, every senator is bigger than the office of the IG.
“What the IG is doing is not against the Senate, it is against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because he is the leader today of this country. If an appointee of the President will refuse to honour invitation of an institution, it is unfortunate.
“I think it is left for this government to decide if they have an appointee that will rubbish the image of the country.
“I think it is much unfortunate and we will have to do something, the image of the President, the image of the country and the image of our democratic environment that is the institution of the parliament is at stake. This is a big embarrassment to the country.”
A competent source told our reporter that the Senate also resolved to write Nigeria’s international partners, foreign embassies and Inter Pol to intimate them about the attitude of the IGP.