To start with it, it is pertinent to deposit here that the Nigerian Senate has the right to summon the Inspector General of Police to appear before it or any of its committees for security and intelligence briefing. As long as the summon is official and not for the actualization of any self-serving purpose, it is good to go.
It is a given, also, that much as the Senate has the constitutional power to invite the IGP who is the head of the police institution, saddled with maintaining internal security, the latter has the exclusive reserve to either attend the summon or send a subordinate to so do if he can’t be there personally especially if the issue borders on internal security of the country.
It is just like PresidentMuhammaduBuhari being summoned and he sends his Vice President, YemiOsinbajo, to represent him in an official capacity. The President has not broken any law in this regard. The IG, Ibrahim Idris, on the three occasions he was summoned by the senate, has not broken any law by sending subordinates to stand in for him with sufficient and genuine reasons for his absence.
What then is the senate looking for except brazen misuse of power and obscene fight for supremacy between an arm(legislature) of the government and a subsidiary of another arm(executive)? To discerning and critical minds, the senators’ call on the IG to appear in person before them or nothing elseis nothing altruistic but self-serving. It is pure grandstanding and has absolutely nothing to do with lawmaking- primary responsibility of the senate- or any of its oversight functions. The senate has an ax to grind with the presidency? Should the IG be the fall guy in this odious battle of supremacy?
At this material time in particular, there has been a myriad of opinions, both informed and uninformed, on the legality or otherwise of the physical non-presence of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in any of the three senate summons. To put a definitive resolution to the raging issue, it is important to comb the constitution for its own responses. After all, in a democracy, where the rule of law is the fulcrum upon which governance is anchored, the position of the constitution is final on any issue.
Without much ado about nothing, apologies to the bard of old, Williams Shakespeare, here is a verbatim versing of the police response to the latest bullying tactic of the senate meant to achieve a parochial, self-centred end: “the attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to the media reportage of the Senate’s resolution on Senate Order Paper of today, Wednesday, 9th May, 2018 after a closed door session that the “Senate declares the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim k. Idris, NPM, mni, as enemy of democracy and unfit to hold any public office within and outside the country”.
‘It is urgently imperative that the Nigeria Police Force respond to this resolution of the Senate which is a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting, unfortunate and mischievous.
“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.
“It is on the basis of the above that when on the 25th of April, 2018, the Senate invited the Inspector-General of Police to appear before it on the 26thof April 2018, in respect of the felonious offenses for which Sen. Dino Melaye was taken into Police custody, investigated and arraigned in a Court of Competent Jurisdiction in Lokoja, but because the Inspector-General of Police was on official assignment with the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria to Bauchi on same date, he delegated the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Operations, Assistant Inspector-Generals of Police and some Commissioners of Police conversant with the matter to brief the Senate.
“The delegated officers went with a brief of the Inspector-General of Police on the matter to the Senate to enable the Senate appreciate the issues raised to guide their resolutions on the matter but the Senate refused to listen to the Officers delegated by the Inspector-General of Police in line with his powers recognized by both the Constitution and the Police Act and Regulations.
‘The Senate again on the 26th of April 2018 wrote the Inspector-General of Police re-inviting him to appear before the Senate in person on the 2nd of May, 2018 but this time around the IGP was on official assignment to Birnin-Gwari Area of Kaduna State in company of the General Officer Commanding, One Division, Nigerian Army Kaduna, Major General Mohammed Mohammed to attend to some very serious security matters of National Importance, but he promptly delegated the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Research and Planning, Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Commissioners of Police to represent him and brief the Senate on the same subject matter but the Senate again refused to accord them audience insisting that the Inspector-General of Police must appear in person.
“On the 8th of May, 2018, the Inspector General of Police sent a letter to the President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria signed by the Commissioner of Police, Legal and Prosecution Department, explaining why he would not be appearing before the Senate on the 9th of May, 2018 due to legal restraint as a result of pending cases before the courts filed: (i) by Senator Dino Melaye against the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in suit No. CV/1610/18 slated for hearing on the 11th day of May, 2018.(ii) by the Inspector General of Police against the Senate in the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/457/2018 adjourned to 31st May, 2018 for hearing.
“It is on record that consequent on the confession of criminal offences indicting Senator Dino Melaye by the principal suspect KABIRU SAIDU a.k.a OSAMA “31 YRS”, The Nigeria Police Force, sent a letter of investigation activities/invitation dated 2ndMarch, 2018 addressed to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria informing and requesting him to release Senator Dino Melaye to report to Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Command on the 7th of March, 2018 to answer to criminal offences of Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms levelled against him, this is to enable the Police Investigation Team carryout a discreet and thorough investigation into the case. But Senator Dino Melaye refused to honour the Police invitation.
‘It is pertinent that the Nigeria Police Force informs the members of the General Public that the reasons for which the Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police is official and not personal, and the 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the Police Act and Regulations allowed the IGP to delegate Deputy Inspector General of Police or Assistant Inspector General of Police to represent him.
“Consequently, the action of the Senate in its resolution against the IGP today is a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting with mischievous motives to hand-twist the IGP to pervert the end of justice in a felonious and serious offenses of Criminal Conspiracy and Unlawful Possession of Prohibited Firearms for which Senator Dino Melaye who was indicted by two (2) Principal Suspects (KabiruSeidu A.K.A OSAMA, NuhuSalisu A.K.A SMALL) arrested for several cases of kidnappings and armed robberies in Kogi State are already standing trial in a court of competent jurisdiction.
“It is important to correct the impression created in the minds of the people from the Senate’s resolution that the IGP is not and will not be an enemy to democracy. It is also of significant note to state that IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, NPM, mni, has served meritoriously for above Ten (10) years in the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations in several countries unblemished. The Nigeria Police Force is the first defender of Democracy and all democratic institutions in Nigeria and will continue to do so..” If you cannot pooh pooh the position of the police on this issue, citing relevant sections of the issue, then you need to apologize to the IG.
Away from digression, rather than what the senate wants the unsuspecting members of the public to believe, the Inspector General of Police, in this circumstance, as far as the Senator Dino Melaye case is concerned, has not broken any law. In fact, it is the senate that is trying to meddle in an affair that is before another amr of government- the judiciary- an action which completely negates the sacred and fundamental principles of the separation of powers which the senate purports to assert. The IG, warts and a, deserves public apology on this issue.
Except for the purpose of morality, legally speaking, the IG, going by the law that established the position, can send a subordinate to represent him in case if he is summoned by the President of the republic who appoints him directly without recourse to the senate for confirmation or rejection as the case may be. If that is the position of the law, how much more is that of the national assembly?
Let us even agree for the purpose of playing that the IG must appear before the senate in person when he is summoned, does the senate have the right to dabble into an issue that is subjudice? Not at all. Again, were Senator Dino Melaye an ordinary Nigerian, after spurning police invitation to appear before it for investigation in a criminal case, and after his forceful arrest by the police, would the senate have invited the IG to common give explanation on the arrest of an alleged criminal who was trying to evade arrest? It has never happened.
From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that the senate summon to the IG to appear before it is nothing altruistic. It is purely a self-serving invitation meant to achieve an end. In any case, the IG honoured the invitations on the three occasions he was summoned. The IG represents an institution, which implies that, any officer in the institution can represent the IG in official capacities. What if the IG is outside the country or indisposed, will the senate insist on his physical appearance before them? Truth be told, the senators goofed, and the IG, with all his imperfections, has not broken any law. On the contrary, he is a friend and lover of democracy who respects constituted authority. If he were an anarchist, like the senate wants us to believe, he would not send any representative to appear on his behalf neither will he communicate them on the impending arrest of Senator Melaye.
The senate can still save its face in this case. Redemption is not beyond any mortal or an institution. All it needs to do is to apologize to the IG. Matter settled.