Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate yesterday asked the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, to stop holding to the claim that he refused to comply with the invitation of the Senate for him to come and explain what the police are doing on the spate of killings across the country.
The Senate has described claim by the IG who shunned the three consecutive summons on him because it was centred on the maltreatment of Senator Dino Melaye as diversionary.
The upper legislative chamber said the summons were to engage the IG on the spate of killings across the country, and rising insecurity, adding that the matter of Melaye had been overtaken by events.
Idris was first summoned to appear on April 26 and then May 2, 2018, over the spate of killings across the country and the inhuman treatment meted out to Melaye in the course of his arrest, detention and arraignment by the police.
On both occasions, Idris had sent the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) (Operations), Mr. Habila Joshack, to represent him. The Senate, however, turned Joshack back and insisted that Idris must personally appear.
He was expected to finally honour the summons last Wednesday, following Mondayâ€™s meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, where Idrisâ€™ attitude to the legislature was discussed.
The police boss however failed to honour the summon again last Wednesday, causing the Senate to declare him an â€œenemy of democracyâ€ and â€œunfit for public office in Nigeria and abroad.â€
Idris, however, dismissed the Senateâ€™s declaration as â€œblackmailâ€ and a â€œwitch huntâ€ with the mischievous motive to arm-twist him into perverting the course of justice in a felonious and serious offence of criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms for which Melaye was indicted.
The Senate in a statement thursday, however, said Idris was attempting to confuse issues and play on the intelligence of members of the public with his claims.
â€œThe resolution of the Senate leading to his invitation is clear and we invite our people to check. It is for the purpose of having a transparent and open hearing that we fixed his appearance for Wednesday when our plenary sitting enjoys live coverage on national television,â€ the Senate said.
The statement issued by Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, maintained that the crux of the matter that informed the invitation was the ceaseless spate of killings across the country.
The statement read: â€œWe noted the response issued by one Jimoh Moshood on behalf of the IG following yesterdayâ€™s resolution of the legislative chamber on the continued refusal of the IG to honour the invitation for him to come and explain what the police are doing to halt the spate of killings across the country.
â€œLet it be known that the IG, by trying to reduce the reason for his invitation by the Senate to the arrest of Melaye, is simply clutching at straws. The issue of Melayeâ€™s arrest has been overtaken by events. 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.
â€œThe primary responsibility of the police is maintenance of law and order as well as protection of lives and property. If there is a breach along the line of this responsibility, we do not see why the IG should feel he cannot be invited to offer explanation to the arm of government which is constitutionally empowered to ask questions and investigate the breach.
â€œNo responsible body of representatives of the people will ignore sad reports given by members on the floor of the Senate. For instance, on April 24, two Catholic priests and 17 members of their congregation were murdered as reported by Senator George Akume. Also, Senators Kabir Marafa and Tijani Kaura had earlier intimated the Senate of the killing of 35 people in Maradun Local Government Area; over 100 people killed in Anka and 36 people killed in Birani Village in Zurmi Local Government Area, all in Zamfara State.
â€œEven as of now, reports reaching us showed that recent killings have occurred in Kaduna, Taraba and Benue States. These were just few instances of daily occurrences of gruesome murder of our constituents as raised by senators. The IG definitely should not have any problem with an invitation for him to tell the Senate what he and his men are doing to stop the killings as well as their challenges and needs in doing this.
â€œIn one instance in the past, Idris had gone to court in order to evade honouring the invitation of the Senate and the court headed by Justice Abba Bello Mohammed of the FCT High Court on April 10, 2018, told him in clear terms that his suit lacked merit as Sections 88 and 89 of the constitution empowers the lawmakers to carry out investigations on issues of public interest.
â€œAny public officer who plans to place himself above an arm of government obviously is not fit to remain in office. Idris is only afraid of his shadows by alleging a witch-hunt when he is called to account on the performance of the duties of his organisation.â€