By CrimeWorld Editorial Board
THE unfolding muscle flexing between the sitting Inspector-General of Police IGP Ibrahim Kpotum Idris and members of the Bukola Saraki-led Senate is surreptitiously tilting towards an abysmal anathema. This is unwarranted especially, now that the nation is visibly groping and confronted by myriads of issues of national interest desiring unison of action to proffer solution. By legal creation, the Senate is the highest law making body of the country and as such wields enormous powers. The IGP on its own is the head of the Nigeria Police Force and an important arm of the executive. Whereas, both are separate in their functions, they are nevertheless, coordinate in action in any good governance system. The NASS makes laws for good governance of the country while the Executive which the office of the IGP falls, implements them. In the events of issues of security breach or collapse such as we have on hand, it is not out of place for the Senate to summon the IGP to explain what has gone wrong and then, jointly find common ground to fix the infractions. That the NASS invited IGP Idris thrice and he failed or refused to honour the invitation is smacks of high level exhibition of impunity. The primary function of the Police is contained in the Police Act-Part 11-Constitution and administration and it says: The Force shall be employed in and throughout for the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of the peace, the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of all laws and regulations with which it is directly charged; and shall be entitled for the performance of any such duties to carry arms. It is therefore, miffing that the IGP under whose shoulders this responsibility falls would glaringly refuse for whatever reason, to honour the invitation of the NASS to explain why Nigeria has been turned into a killing field when the nation is not at war. This is clear indices of a failing democracy. Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is apt on the summoning powers of the Senate thus: Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, each House of the National Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation to direct or cause to be directed investigation into – (a) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws, and (b) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for – (i) executing or administering laws enacted by National Assembly, and (ii) disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly. The powers conferred on the National Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to – (a) Make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and (b) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it. (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 a committee 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 document or 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. 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 authorized in that behalf by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as the case may require.
Agreed, the IGP has the excusable caveat to send a representative in event that he is not disposed to honour an invite by the NASS but that he dishonoured the invitation three times for the same reason of “attending other security matters” raised a question mark on his responsiveness to Nigerians. Need we remind the IGP Idris that he is a public office holder and should therefore, be seen as such? The killings across the country especially, in the middle-belt and North-east are unprecedented. Whether the Senate somersaulted in its earlier reason for inviting the IGP Idris bothering on the ill treatment meted out to Senator Dino Melaye and later to address the security lapses across the nation is immaterial. That IGP Idris continually shunned invitations to personally appear before the Senate but sent his subordinates to represent him showed that he knows much about the killings in Benue State and other states for that matter; then we have been has told.
It is on record that Nigerians have never been so slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen and the seeming intractable Boko Haram insurgents and nothing is visibly done to address it. In 2018 alone, the figure of deaths recently released by the Senate stands at 949. This is frightening. Without prejudice, it is unambiguous that IGP idris has a culture of arrogance and impunity; whether inherent or intrinsic. At the peak of the massacre in Benue State, President Buhari had ordered that IGP Idris relocate to the state but this same IGP Idris ignored that Presidential order. A surprised President Buhari had to come out and publicly told the world that he was “surprised that IGP Idris ignored my order to relocate to Benue State.” Whether President Buhari meant the word “Surprise” is a different thing entirely; because the IGP is an appointee of the President. What is however, incontestable is that were Nigeria a sane society, the IGP would have since been relieved of his duty by such singular act.
It is nonetheless, irking to note that a section of Nigerian lawyers have relapsed in their professional capacity to interpret the constitution the way it should be. By saying that the Senate lacks the powers to summon the IGP and or, that the reason for his invitation be known to him before he appears is an aberration. These sets of lawyers are indirectly fanning the amber of the collapse of democracy in the country. We therefore, call on the IGP Idris to have a rethink, put national interest first and do the needful. Nigerians deserve to live. It is not pleasant to be continually inundated by the gory news of bloodletting in the country. Life is sacrosanct. Both the Police and the law makers are all Nigerians; uniform and status are mere nomenclatures.
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