Police to challenge in court Senate’s indictment of IGP
‘Idris afraid of shadow, clinging to straw’
The Nigeria Police Force has said it will mount a legal challenge against the Senate’s declaration that the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris is an “enemy of democracy, unfit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria.”The Senate had made the pronouncement onWednesday, following its third failed attempt at making the police boss appear and answer questions on the nation’s security and alleged maltreatment of Senator Dino Melaye by law officers.
In a Channels Television programme, yesterday, Commissioner of Police (Legal), Force Headquarters, Mr. David Igbodo, said: “We are going to challenge it. We want the court to interpret whether each time the IGP is invited to appear before the National Assembly, he must appear in person.”But the Senate has accused Idris of trying to mislead the public on the declaration.
Its spokesperson, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), said the IGP should stop providing irrelevant facts to back his refusal to obey Senate’s invitations, which according to him were in respect of killings across the country and not about the arrest of Melaye.“Let it be known that the IGP, by trying to reduce the reason for his invitation to the arrest of Senator Dino Melaye, is simply holding on to a straw. The courts are already handling the related cases. Our main concern is the security crisis across the country where people are being killed in scores on a daily basis,” Abdullahi said yesterday.
He added: “The IGP definitely should not have any problem with an invitation to tell the Senate what he and his men are doing to stop the killings as well as their challenges and needs. Any public officer who plans to place himself above an arm of government obviously is not fit to remain in office. Mr. Idris is only afraid of his shadows by alleging witch-hunt when he is called to account for the performance of the duties of his organisation.”
It a statement, late Wednesday, Force Public Relations Officer Jimoh Moshood had urged members of the public to “disregard and discountenance the resolution of the Senate,” describing it as “deliberate blackmail”, “witch-hunt” and “mischief”, aimed at “casting aspersions on the hard-earned integrity” of Idris and the force.
“The Police Force owes no apology to any individual or groups in its effort to ensure preservation of law and order, supremacy of the law of the land, and make sure that all Nigerians are subject to the same law, no matter what their positions are in the society,” he said.It will also “not be intimidated by any individual, groups or institution, constituent or otherwise, to abdicate from its constitutional responsibilities of protecting life and property and due enforcement of the rule of law, and law and order across the country.”
He said the force, “as a law-abiding organisation, will continue to hold the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in high esteem, but wishes to impress on the Senate not to harbour criminal elements among its fold or condone criminality.”The force argued that the IGP’s non-appearance did not amount to a breach of the law as the police boss is empowered by the constitution to appoint a top officer to brief in his absence.
The statement reads: “In accordance with the extant laws in Nigeria, the functions, duties and responsibilities of the Inspector General of Police, as stated in Section 215(1a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, and the Police Act and Regulations Section 309(1) can also be carried out as mentioned in sections 7(1),312(1), 313(2) of the Police Act and Regulations by a senior officer of the Force of the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police or Assistant Inspector General of Police who, if permitted by the Inspector General of Police to act on his behalf or represent him in an official capacity at any official function, event or programme within and outside Nigeria, can do so in consonance with the provisions of the Police Act and Regulations.
“It is on the basis of the above that when on April 25, 2018, the Senate invited the Inspector General of Police to appear before it on April 26, 2018 (in respect of the felonious offences for which Senator Dino Melaye was taken into police custody, investigated and arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction in Lokoja), because the Inspector General of Police was on official assignment with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Bauchi same day, he delegated the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations, Assistant Inspector Generals of Police and some Commissioners of Police conversant with the matter to brief the Senate.
“The delegated officers went with a brief of the Inspector General of Police on the matter to the Senate, to enable the Senate appreciate the issues raised, to guide their resolutions on the matter. But the Senate refused to listen to the officers delegated by the Inspector General of Police in line with his powers recognised by both the constitution and the Police Act and Regulations.
“The Senate again on April 26, 2018, wrote the Inspector General of Police re-inviting him to appear in person on May 2, 2018. But this time around, the IGP was on official assignment to the Birnin-Gwari Area of Kaduna State in company of the General Officer Commanding, One Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Mohammed Mohammed, to attend to some very serious security matters of national importance. He promptly delegated the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Research and Planning, Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Commissioners of Police to represent him and brief the Senate on the same subject matter. But the Senate again refused to accord them audience, insisting the Inspector General of Police must appear in person.”
The statement adds: “On May 8, 2018, the Inspector General of Police sent a letter to the President of the Senate, signed by the Commissioner of Police, Legal and Prosecution Department, explaining why he would not be appearing before the Senate on May 9, 2018 due to legal restraint, as a result of pending cases before the courts filed by Senator Dino Melaye against the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in suit No. CV/1610/18 slated for hearing on May 11, 2018; and by the Inspector General of Police against the Senate in the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/457/2018, adjourned to May 31, 2018 for hearing.
“It is pertinent that the Nigeria Police Force informs the members of the general public that the reasons for which the Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police is official and not personal, and the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the Police Act and Regulations allow the IGP to delegate a Deputy Inspector General of Police or Assistant Inspector General of Police to represent him.
“Consequently, the action of the Senate in its resolution against the IGP is a deliberate blackmail and witch-hunt with mischievous motives to hand twist the IGP to pervert the end of justice in felonious and serious offences of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms for which Senator Dino Melaye, who was indicted by two principal suspects, Kabiru Seidu (aka Osama) and Nuhu Salisu (aka Small), arrested for several cases of kidnappings and armed robberies in Kogi State, are already standing trial in a court of competent jurisdiction.”
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