Arresting the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for failing to appear before the Senate is not something the lawmakers may want to consider. But the IGP still has no plans to do as he was told by the National Assembly.
He has snubbed the Senate three times and ignored their request to come before it to answer questions relating to the incessant killings across the country and the inhuman treatment meted to Dino Melaye, the Senator representing Kogi west senatorial district
The Senate has called the Idris an enemy of democracy and he has accused them of trying to blackmail him. The IG who refused two previous summons by the Senate on April 25th and 26th and also failed to appear for the third time on Wednesday May 9th said it was because he found no reason to do so. Additionally, he said he had learnt that the invitation was “a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting, unfortunate and mischievous” on the part of the senators.
However, a newspaper advertisement published by the Nigerian Police and signed by David Igbodo, Commissioner of Police Legal/Prosecution section gave reasons why the IG could not honour the first two invitations. According to Igbodo,the police boss was on assignment to Bauchi, the first time, with President Buhari and, the second time, travelled to Birnin-Gwari in Kaduna with the Major General Mohammed Mohammed, the General Officer Commanding One Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna.
Igbodo said the IGP sent representatives to the Senate but the National Assembly rejected them.
IGP insists and has repeatedly said he will not honour the invitation, citing sections of the constitution and extant police statutes that appear to support his stance. must not appear in person as provided has therefore gone to Court to press his right not to appear before the lawmakers.
“In view of the insistence of the senate that the Inspector General of Police must appear before the Senate in person, coupled with utterances emanating from the leadership of the senate on his non-appearance, the Inspector –General of Police felt that serious constitutional issue has arisen for the court to decide whether the IGP must always appear in person each time he is invited to appear before the National Assembly, despite his powers of delegation on official matters involving the police force.”
The face-off between the police and the senate has been criticised nationwide, with Senators Lawan and Abaribe specially condemning it.
“It is very unusual for a public servant to act like this. I have never seen this before anywhere in the world. We need to take a decision because this affects security in the entire country,” Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan said.
“What is happening today in Nigeria shows that democracy is dying bit by bit and also shows the abuse of power and office of the IG. What the IG is doing in the eyes of the world shows that there is no respect for the law,” Senator Anyinaya Abaribe added.
Observers say what is surprising is that President Buhari has not intervened as at the time, and it was not immediately clear what he is doing to prevent further standoff between his aides and the legislature.