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IG loses bid to stop Senate’s summons over Melaye



The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday declined to grant the application by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to stop the Senate from inviting him to a legislative hearing.

The Senate had in two separate letters dated April 25 and 26 summoned the IGP to appear and brief it on the circumstances surrounding the inhuman treatment that Senator Melaye suffered in the hands of police officers.

But the IGP refused to appear on both occasions, rather, he sent a delegate to represent him, an action that was condemned by the lawmakers who insisted he must appear personally.

But in a suit, he claimed that he was permitted under the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Police Act, to delegate a deputy inspector general of police to appear before the Senate on his behalf.

He went further to question the insistence of the Senate that he must personally appear before it.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the Senate and its President, Bukola Saraki.

The IG, through his counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), sought for an order to restrain them, their assigns, agents or any committee from insisting that he must appear in person to the exclusion of any of his subordinate officers.

Delivering his judgment in the matter, Justice John Tsoho, struck out the suit on the premise that it amounted to an abuse of court process.

The court further held that the IGP failed to show a reasonable cause for his inability to personally respond to the second invitation dated April 26.

Justice Tsoho further held that it was not in doubt that as at the time the Senate summoned the IGP, the subject matter for his appearance, which involved Melaye, was already a case before a competent court of jurisdiction on the issue.

According to the judge, the IGP ought to have appeared before the lawmakers and explained to them that the matter was subjudice.

The court further observed that the titling of the letter to the IGP, ‘Invitation to brief the Senate on the inhuman treatment of Senator Dino Melaye over a matter that is pending in court’, indicated that the Senate was already aware that the case was in court.

Besides, Justice Tsoho held that the IGP’s reason that he went to Birnin Gwari with the GOC on April 26, was not tenable.

“I did not see any harm that would have been caused if the IGP honoured the Senate’s invitation.

I uphold the defendants argument that the plaintiff’s suit is intended to prevent the exercise of Senate’s legitimate responsibility and therefore amounts to an abuse of court process.

“I hold that the plaintiff should have appeared before the Senate to brief it on the action of the Police in a matter before a court.

“The plaintiff ought to have briefed the Senate instead of running to the court to stop the Senate from investigating him.

“The action amounts to an abuse of court process and it is hereby struck out.”

Justice Tsoho disqualified himself from deciding another suit the IGP filed to quash a resolution the Senate passed on May 9, which declared him as an “enemy of democracy who is unfit to retain his position.

The police boss had in the suit prayed the court to bar the Senate from taking further steps to gazette the resolution which followed his refusal to appear before it.

Justice Tsoho held that since the matter was related to the one he struck out, it would serve the end of justice for the case file to be returned to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another judge.

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