3 Reasons IGP Was Right To Ignore Senate Summon
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris is currently in the spotlight and the reasons are not too good.
There is a faceoff between him and the Nigerian Senate over his refusal to honour a summon regarding an alleged “inhuman treatment” of Senator Dino Melaye.
It must be established first that the senator is a suspect in a criminal case and does not enjoy immunity by the constitution of Nigeria.
The senators claim that they also wanted to discuss security issues with the IG, but their actions seem to show the Melaye matter is the main thing.
Commissioner of Police (Legal) Force Headquarters, David Igbodo, said on Thursday that the IG has appeared before the Senate about 10 times in his two years in office for different reasons.
This time, however, the police is determined to prove that the IGP’s visits were not their right but a gesture he gave out of respect.
The CP explained reasons why the Inspector-General of Police has a right to decide against appearing before the Senate.
1. Right To Delegate
The Police boss has a right to delegate his lieutenants to represent him at official assignments and the Senate summon falls into that category.
Igbodo explained, “The official functions of the IG can be performed by the DIG or the AIGs. Why are they insisting that it must be the IG to appear in person? What is personal about it when the facts (they need) are known to the DIGs.
“The DIG in charge of operations, the line officers understand what has happened between the Nigerian Police and Senator Dino Melaye.
“When this allegation was made in Kogi state, it was not made in Abuja. The IGP through the DIG Operations wrote a letter to the Senate President asking him to release Senator Dino Melaye asking him to report to Kogi state for statement taking.
“They refused to release him, they the Senate president was outside the country. Then, two days after that, they replied that they should have allowed Senator Dino Melaye to report to the police in Abuja.
“I did a letter to the Senate President requesting that they should now release Senator Dino Melaye to report to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja.
“The IG complied since they said Senator Melaye claimed he is not safe in Kogi state – his own state but yet again, he declined to appear (in Abuja).
“Is he above the law?”
2. The Law
Ironically, this is the same question lawmakers and few Nigerians are asking the Police boss, Ibrahim Idris. Is he above the law?
Why won't he respect the Senate’s summon, since they claim the summon was also about the security issues in the country?
But Igbodo won’t buy that, “Do you discuss security matters on national television?” he asked.
In any case, the Senate rules, according to him, Order 53, Rule 5 states that any matter that is awaiting the decision of the court should not be mentioned before the national assembly.
The IG and the police are aware that Dino Melaye had approached the court over his grievances, while the police has also taken the case to court.
To him, the IGP is the one trying to grow Nigeria’s democracy by respecting the rule of law, a topic the lawmakers do not seem to understand.
3. The Constitution
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has waided in on the issue and his view seems to shut down all the arguments being promoted in favour of the Senate.
“With profound respect, by virtue of section 67 sub-section 2 of the Constitution, the National Assembly – either chamber, can summon a minister when the affairs of his or her ministry are under consideration.
“The only other occasion that a public officer can be summoned by the national assembly is when proceedings are ongoing to expose corruption – section 88 of the constitution.
“And when a law is being debated either with a view to amend it or to have a new law entirely, you can summon any public officer to provide information with respect to that law.
“There is no such power given to the National Assembly to summon everybody,” he said.
In other words, the Senate should have summoned the Minister of Interior whose ministry oversees the armed forces, police and other security and intelligence agencies over security matters.
They could have also invited the Attorney-General to answer questions regarding the prosecution of people who have been indicted in the security challenges facing the country.
Mr Falana also spoke during a live TV interview.
WATCH: How Police Lay Siege To Dino Melaye's House