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For the third consecutive time in 2018, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has failed to honour the invitation of the Nigerian Senate.
The first invitation was April 25, 2018; on this day, the IGP joined the entourage of President Muhamadu Buhari to Bauchi.
Second Senate invitation was May, 2018, but the Senate Committee Chairman on Police Affairs, Abu Ibrahim, briefed his fellow lawmakers that their guest (Idris) had gone to Kaduna instead.
The latest was May 9, 2018, as usual the IGP has turned down the invitation without sending a representative.
He hasn’t shown any sign of “remorse” or apology. He has rather described the Nigerian Senators as people who were trying to blackmail him into perverting the course of justice.
He said the invitation of the senate was unnecessary, calling it, “a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting, unfortunate and mischievous.”
An enraged lawmakers had also proclaimed Mr Idris an “enemy of democracy” who is “unfit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria.”
Idris replied them, saying “I hold the senate no apology.”
Remote causes of Ibrahim Idris’ invitation by the Nigeria Senate?
It’s not the IGP’s first time of flaunting both executive and legislative orders. While trying to bring the killing and lawlessness in Benue State to order, Mr. President ordered Mr. Idris to relocate to the state (Benue).
But Mr. Idris didn’t obey the President’s directive. The president was only aware of it when he visited the state.
Political analysts thought the IGP would be sacked, but he continued in office, while the president said nothing thereafter as if nothing happened.
It generated reactions on social media and other available medium, but nothing happened thereafter.
“Idris is the anointed son of the president,” a political analyst in Osun State said.“If it were to be in the United States, or United Kingdom, his sack would be announced right on the spot of visit of Mr. President.”
The issue almost generated physical confrontation between the Force Spokesman Mr. Jimoh Moshood, and the Media Adviser to Governor Ortom of Benue on Channels TV Sunrise Daily when both men were invited on the effort of the police to calm the tension in the state.
Police PRO on the programme described Ortom “a drowning governor.” Nigerian Senate directed IGP Idris to call his spokesman to order, and apologise to the governor.
There was call to sack Mr. Moshood (Check his biography), but another serious issues, common to Nigeria, overshadowed the case. And it was swept under the carpet.
Immediate causes of Ibrahim Idris’ invitation by the Nigeria Senate?
The latest treatment of a senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, by the police has infuriated the Senate. Melaye is one of the outspoken senators, who is seen as an ally of President of The Senate, Mr. Bukola Saraki.
The IGP was invited on security concerns an possibly to planned to ask him questions around the ongoing face-off between the police and Melaye.
Melaye represents Kogi West Senatorial District. He has since been receiving treatment a hospital in Abuja after jumping out of a moving police vehicle after police officers allegedly sprayed tear gas at him on May 24 o their way to Lokoja to face prosecution.
Mr. Idris, who has indirectly said he “will not honour the invitation”, has cited sections of the Constitution and extant police statutes;
“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 an 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 consonant with the provisions of the Police Act and Regulations.”
Mr. Idris delegated some of his subordinates to represent him before the lawmakers, which further infuriated the senators; they rejected his delegation saying Idris must appear in person before the house.
The police chief isn’t the first appointee of President Buhari to ignore the invitation of The Senate.
Sometimes ago, the Federal Lawmakers directed the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, a retired colonel, to wear Customs uniform, to conform with tradition of the institution he represents, whenever he’s to appear before them. Mr Ali rejected that demand
What action can The Senate take over IGP Idris?
Since vehement disregard to the Senate’s invitations by Mr. Idris, both chambers had been in search of available options to call him to order, or possibly deal with him.
One of such moves was the the visit of Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara to Mr. President at the Aso Rock Villa early this month.
Buhari reportedly told them he would look into Mr. Idris’ action; but the tone of the police chief’s latest statement indicates that the presidency hasn’t really done anything to prevail over the IGP.
“In a close session, we deliberated the non-appearance of the IGP to the Senate in plenary after series of invitations.
“The Senate believed it was a gross disrespect to this institution and constituted authority. It also noted that the IGP’s refusal to appear before an investigative committee was overruled by a court of competent jurisdiction in April this year.
“The Senate, therefore, view this persistent refusal as a great danger to democracy. And so resolved that the IGP as an enemy of democracy is 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,” Senator Saraki said.
Can the Senate invoke any section of the 1999 Constitution?
Section 89 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution dwells more on the matter, but it’s in favour of the Police Boss.
“89. (1) For the purposes of any investigation under section 88 of this Constitutional and subject to the provisions thereof, the Senate or the House of Representatives or acommittee appointed in accordance with section 62 of this Constitution shall have power to
(a) procure all such evidence, written or oral, direct or circumstantial, as it may think necessary or desirable, and examine all persons as witnesses whose evidence may be material or relevant to the subject matter;
(b) require such evidence to be given on oath;
(c) summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place or produce any documentor other thing in his possession or under his control, and examine him as a witness and require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession or under his control, subject to all just exceptions; and
(d) issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure, refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the House or the committee in question, and order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure, refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to impose such fine as may be prescribed for any such failure, refused or neglect; and any fine so imposed shall be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a court of law.
(2) A summons or warrant issued under this section may be served or executed by any member of the Nigeria Police Force or by any person authorised in that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.”
Placing Section 89 vis-a-vis Section 215(1a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, and the Police Act and Regulations Section 309(1) IGP Idris has fulfilled the provision of the available law by sending a senior police officer to represent him before the senate.
The senate can NEVER issue an arrest of a police chief, “Is it possible to order IGP Idri to arrest him? A legal luminary asked?
The senate’s only option is to prevail over the president to sack him, and the lawmakers do not have that political influence on Buhari.