IG Drags Senate to Court over His Censure

  • Offa robbery: Saraki sends written response to police

Deji Elumoye and Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Inspector General of Police (IG) Thursday dragged the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Senate to the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over the resolution by the upper legislative chamber declaring him an “enemy of democracy” and not fit to hold office within and outside Nigeria.

Idris, through his counsel, Alex Iziyon (SAN), is seeking the leave of court to challenge the Senate’s resolution of May 9.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/554/2018, and filed on May 25, the police boss is seeking a declaration that the respondents acted “ultra vires of its powers under Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution in the votes and proceedings leading to the resolution contained in the gazette dated 9th May, 2018 imposing a penal sanction on the applicant”.

The application which is predicated on an 18-paragraph affidavit, among others, is seeking an order of court quashing the entire votes and proceedings, and by implication, the resolution of the Senate that led to the resolution contained in the gazette dated May 9, declaring the IG an “enemy of democracy and unfit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria”.

The IG is also seeking: “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents whether by itself, or through its servant, agents and or privies, whatsoever from acting on the said resolution contained in the gazette dated 9th May, 2018 or causing same to be acted upon by any person or authority or government agency, or carrying out similar or like resolution against the applicant.”

Some of the grounds on which the reliefs were sought are that the respondents lack the competence and or jurisdiction to impose penal sanctions on the IG under Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution; that the conduct of the respondents throughout the votes and proceedings that led to the said resolution contained in the gazette dated May 9, was palpable of bias, deep rooted prejudiced, visible hatred and disguised contempt for the applicant; and the action of the Senate constituted a legislative judgment.

The applicant, in the affidavit in support of the motion, averred that he as a fact can carry out his functions by himself or delegate same to his subordinate officers, in accordance with the law, adding that it was practically impossible for him to be in all places at the same time to answer to all summons at all times.

Idris, in the affidavit, said that he received the respondents’ letter of 25 April inviting him to appear before the Senate, but because of his engagement in a trip involving the president, he had to delegate his subordinate, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, and to others whom according to him had “adequate direct knowledge of the two subject matters” relating to the invitation.

He said the respondents however refused to accept his representatives and adjourned plenary to May 2, 2018, “with a stern warning that the applicant must appear or face the consequences”.

He added that based on the above development, the respondents passed the said resolution declaring him an enemy of democracy and unfit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria.

Delivering ruling on the application, Justice John Tsoho said the IG had shown sufficient interest to be granted leave of the court to move the court action against the respondents.

Justice Tsoho also ordered that the processes be served on the respondents through the Clerk of the National Assembly and adjourned to June 27 for the application on notice.

In a related development, Saraki Thursday formally responded in writing to police allegation that he had a hand in the recent armed robbery incident that claimed 33 lives in Offa, Kwara State.

The Senate President’s response was sent with a covering letter from his office at the National Assembly in Abuja Thursday morning.

The Senate President echoed this in his Twitter handle saying: “In line with their request, earlier today, the police received my response to their letter on the investigation into the Offa robbery case.”

Saraki’s response came 24 hours after the two-day ultimatum given to him by the police to respond to the allegations.

The police on Sunday had initially invited Saraki to appear in person at their office in Guzape, Abuja, to respond to the allegations against him. On Monday, however, the police through a letter gave Saraki up to 48 hours, which lapsed on Wednesday, to respond in writing to the various allegations levelled against him by some of the robbery suspects in their custody, saying he was no longer required to appear in person.

However, the police by Wednesday had changed course again, insisting that Saraki must appear in person at their office in Guzape, Abuja.

The flip-flop by the police came one day after the Senate reaffirmed its censure of the police IG.