• Leads 10-man delegation to President Buhari
• Don’t interfere in our investigation, police warns
• PDP worried over attacks on democratic institutions
From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Kanayo Umeh and George Opara (Abuja)
Senate President Bukola Saraki has alleged a plot by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to implicate him in a criminal case. But the police yesterday warned the Senate President against undue intervention in its investigation of criminal offences.
As a result, the upper legislative chamber, yesterday, appointed a 10-man delegation to lodge a complaint with President Muhammadu Buhari.The development adds an intriguing twist to the ongoing face-off between the Senate and the IGP. The lawmakers had failed repeatedly to make the police boss appear to answer questions they said bordered on national security.
The planned interrogation, however, is coming at a time the police are prosecuting Senator Dino Melaye over alleged crimes.Saraki has in the past faced allegations of wrongdoings, which he always denied.
Following a closed-door meeting that lasted about an hour, the Senate president read a statement detailing the alleged plot and why the lawmakers must act fast to stop the “dangerous” situation.“My distinguished colleagues, there is an issue which I need to bring to your attention very urgently. Last night, my state governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, revealed to me information at his disposal, that a group of suspects who had been in police cell for several weeks for cultism and whose investigation had been concluded with prosecution about to commence under the state law, based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Ministry of Justice, were ordered to be transferred to Abuja this morning.”
He said: “According to the information available to the governor, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim, directed the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to immediately transfer the men to Force Headquarters. The plan, as the governor was made to understand is that, under duress, the suspects would be made to alter the statements they had already made in Ilorin. They will then be made to implicate the Kwara State government, and in particular, myself, in their new statement.”
Saraki said the “plot is part of the strategy by IGP Idris to settle scores over the declaration by this honourable chamber that he is not qualified and competent to hold any public office within and outside the country, and that he is an enemy of Nigerian democracy, based on his usual disrespectful conduct towards lawful authorities.”He concluded: “I want to bring this dangerous development to the attention of all of you, my colleagues, the entire country, and the international community, so that you can be aware of the level of impunity in our country and the danger it constitutes to our democracy.”
The delegation, led by Saraki, consists of Leader of the Senate Ahmed Lawan; Chief Whip Olusola Adeyeye; Minority Whip Godswill Akpabio; Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos); Raji Rasaki (APC, Ekiti); Aliyu Wammakko (APC, Sokoto); Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi); Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe), and Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa).
The Senate asked Saraki to stand down and allow his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, to preside over debate on the matter.“We all know that the parliament is the temple of democracy. We have a responsibility to our people, not only to preserve our democracy but also to ensure it is purified. What the Senate president has raised today is an exposure of some of the things that are wrong with our democracy, and which we need to halt,” said Ekweremadu.
But the police said the allegation being made by the Senate President was based on arrest of some suspects linked to a string of killings in Kwara State.Reacting to the allegation, Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood in a statement late Wednesday in Abuja said the transfer of the suspects was not because of the Senate President. He, however warned Saraki that the alarm being raised by him could compromise investigation and demoralise families of those killed by the gang of criminals.
The development appears to have triggered an alarm by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over what it termed “brazen assaults on the institutions of democracy, particularly the National Assembly and the judiciary, in addition to unrelenting attacks on dissenting voices, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.”In a statement by National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, the party charged the National Assembly to defend democracy by putting in motion legislative instruments to curtail the excesses of the Buhari administration.