Law News
Fence-climbing lawmakers suspected thugs —IGP

Members of the House Committee on Police Affairs were shocked yesterday when the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr Sulaiman Abba, told them that he would not address Aminu Tambuwal as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Abba drew the ire of the committee members when in his submission addressed the Speaker as Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and also described the lawmakers who scaled the gate last Thursday as suspected thugs.

At this point, Rep. Akeem Muniru, APC, Lagos declared that ”if the Inspector General of Police cannot appropriately address the Speaker on whose ticket we were appointed as members of this committee then I will honourably leave here.”

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Usman Kumo, PDP, Gombe quickly interjected, appealing to his members that the Inspector-General of Police has the floor and should be allowed to deliver his submission without interference.

Members openly complained, particularly Hon. Shuaibu Gwandu, PDP, Sokoto and Hon. Rufai Chachangi, APC, Kaduna, declaring that the IGP should retract what he said.

After about five minutes, the chairman successfully calmed frayed nerves.

Reading his submission, Abba said: “My deep sympathy goes to those who sustained injuries in what happened on November 20 and let me say here that it hurts my own person as the events of that day traumatised me.

“What transpired on that day was unprecedented worldwide as policemen were disobeyed, beaten and many things that followed after that date. In the process of safeguarding the security of the National Assembly on November 20, we collaborated with the National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms according to laid down procedures where members were being asked to identify themselves before they could be allowed into the premises.

“And at the gate there, a tear gas exploded when ‘Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal’ was being asked to identity himself. We still don’t know the circumstances surrounding the explosion and we are investigating it.”


I acted on credible information —IGP

He claimed he acted based on credible information to deploy his men to the NASS on the said day, adding that the action was also due to what happened on the 19th when Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and other APC supporters besieged the Force Headquarters promising to do worse things the following day, including going to the National Assembly.

He said: “Considering what happened in Burkina Faso on October 30 where the palace was invaded, we had no choice than to go for reinforcement to curb the situation.”

Suspected thugs

The IGP insisted that there were reports that those who scaled the fence on that day were thugs.

Asked whether the so-called thugs include the lawmakers who resorted to scaling the fence after being locked out by the Police, he said the actions that were taken were based on the need to forestall breakdown of law and order as witnessed recently in Bukina Faso.

“We acted on credible information about suspected thugs who wanted to invade the Assembly and because we didn’t want what happened in Bukina Faso to repeat itself here, we had to take stringent security measures,” the IGP said.


Tambuwal should be properly addressed—Lawmakers

Lawmakers were, however, furious on the manner in which the Police chief addressed the person of the Speaker as a mere Alhaji whose name has no protocol and national significance whatsoever.

Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Usman Kumo, then called the IGP to order, insisting that the Speaker and his office must be respected and addressed accordingly.

After observing that the IGP was not forthcoming, Hon. Hakeem Muniru (APC Lagos) demanded that “the IGP must retract his statement calling the Speaker, ‘Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal’ or I take my leave as I would deem this sitting as an illegal one. Because I can’t participate in a hearing where the office of the Speaker through whose authority we are having this meeting is not even recognised by an appointee of the executive.”

Hon. Victor Nwokolo (PDP Delta) said: “I agree with the earlier speaker on the issues at stake which has to do with the IGP retracting his disrespectful statement about the office of the Speaker.”

Kumo, however, failed to obtain compliance from the IGP and told his colleagues that he would report back to the House what transpired and therefore adjourned the hearing sine die.

Vanguard recalls that last Thursday, the National Assembly was invaded by policemen and lawmakers had to scale the gate as they were locked out of the complex.


Vow to apply relevant laws to checkmatwe IGP

Meanwhile, spokesman of the House of Representatives, Zakari Mohammed, yesterday, said all relevant laws would be looked into to checkmate the Inspector General of Police.

Apparently reacting to the outcome of the public hearing held at NASS complex where the IGP refused to properly address the speaker appropriately, Mohammed said: ”When we resume we shall invoke the right laws to deal with the situation. Since the IGP has assumed the position of another arm of government, we will handle the situation the right way very soon. The issue here is that the IGP has turned himself into the judiciary.”

Another top ranking member of the House said: “We will ensure that this particular IGP goes down in history as one who wanted to desecrate the sanctity of the National Assembly. He must certainly pay for his act of indiscretion and mischief.”


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