The vote of no confidence passed in the Inspector-General of Police by the Nigerian Senate is justified. We need to understand this – the appointment of the IG by the President of Nigeria is subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
The constitution in Section 215, which talks about the appointment of the IG, states that the President “shall appoint from the police, after due consultation with the Nigeria Police Council.” Section 216 talks about removal from office. It says that the President can also remove the IG after consulting with the Nigeria Police Council.
However, even when the appointment of the IG is not subject to the confirmation of the Senate, the IG has no right to say that the Senate cannot carry out its over-sight functions over the police.
According to the constitution, any Ministry, Department and Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria that has a budget which passed through the legislative process in the Senate cannot escape its power of oversight. In carrying out this oversight function, it can question the conduct of the person occupying whatever position and the manner he/she has carried out his duties. The entire police cannot be above the Senate in whatever form.
The Senate has the right to state that they have lost confidence in the person occupying the highest position in the police hierarchy. Such a vote of no confidence will rob off on the IG at the international level and it can stop any invitation from the international community because there are questions bordering on his integrity and professionalism.
A former IG, M. D. Yusuf, was the one who recommended that the office of the IG is too sensitive and that it should be subject to confirmation by the National Assembly. •Mr. Hillary Bisong (Member, Cross River State House of Assembly)
Yes, the no confidence vote in the Inspector-General of Police by the Senate is justified. The IG looks up to the President and Commander-in-Chief as the only person to give him directives to respond to constitutional provisions.
The same power the president, who is the head of the executive has over him, the National Assembly and the judiciary also enjoy.
So, it is an act of insubordination and an insult to our constitution for the IG to snub a legitimate invitation by the National Assembly.
The National Assembly makes laws for the entire country and the police form part of this nation. The budget for the police will have to be endorsed by the National Assembly before they are entitled to use it.
Therefore, the refusal of the IG to appear before the National Assembly is an insult and an affront to the Nigerian constitution.
Notwithstanding, whatever leadership is in the National Assembly or what they perceive of the National Assembly, its very existence is a creation of the law as contained in our constitution. So, the IG’s refusal is an aberration, albeit, an affront to the Nigerian Constitution. The vote of no confidence in him by the Senate is absolutely justified. •Chris Abasieyo (A former governorship aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party)
The declaration by the Senate on the IGP is not legally binding – that is their opinion. That the hallowed chamber declared that the IG is not performing and that he is not fit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria does not have the force of the law. But for the Senate as an institution, as an arm of government to make such a pronouncement, it is a minus for the police boss.
I believe the Senate condemnation of the IG is justified; the Senate summoned him to clarify an issue, even if it is the matter concerning Senator Dino Melaye, he should have gone there to tell them that the matter is in court and that he cannot comment on it.
There are other issues in the letter sent to the IG. The Senate raised the issue of the killings in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and other states – he can now comment on these – but he ignored them on three occasions. It therefore means that the IG is not fit; he is not worthy to hold any post in Nigeria and abroad. If I were the IG, I would tender my resignation immediately; but we live in a lawless country.
It is shameful for him as a police officer that he could not honour a legitimate summons from the Senate. Instead of honouring the summons, he was quoting the Police Act and clutching onto straws.
The sections he quoted had to do with the normal delegation of police duties. If the President summons him, will he send a DIG to represent him? What he did is a blow to the National Assembly which is an arm of government; it is an insult to the legislature. • Sunny Anyanwu (Abuja-based legal practitioner)
I don’t think the vote of no confidence passed in the Inspector-General of Police by the Senate is justified. Both the IG and the Senate have responsibilities to discharge to the Nigerian people; there is also this principle of separation of powers which should be respected. The office of the IG is a very serious one and has enormous responsibilities.
When the Senate invited the IG and he sent the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The Senate invited the IG, not the person of Ibrahim Idris.
All relevant laws guiding police operations, especially the Police Act which draws from the constitution, empower the IG to do so.
Moreover, I understand the lawmakers wanted to ask questions bordering on police operations in troubled spots, there is nothing wrong in getting a briefing from the DIG operations.
If, however, what they want to see the IG for is the ongoing criminal case involving Senator Dino Melaye, I think they are overstepping their bounds because it could be interpreted to mean an attempt to obstruct police investigations into a criminal case. •Abubakar Tsav (Commissioner of Police retd.)
I believe that the Inspector-General of Police and the National Assembly, not just the Senate, should work out a more harmonious relationship in the interest of Nigerians.
The situation we are in today requires that all arms and agencies of government should work together.
The National Assembly has a right under sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), to invite any Nigerian, especially public office holders, to appear before it to answer questions.
This is in line with the powers conferred on the National Assembly to carry out oversight functions.
The IG, who under normal circumstances – especially under a democracy – is a servant of the people, should not ignore National Assembly’s invitations.
He should consider an invitation by any of the two chambers of the National Assembly, as an opportunity to render account to the people.
The Nigerian people are his employers because he is being maintained with taxpayers’ money. It is not proper to make the National Assembly go to the President and ask him to prevail on the IG to appear before them; this should not be the case.
There appears to be a growing disrespect for our legislators by appointees of this government; this should not be the case.
We need to build our institutions and to do so, public officers have a duty to respect our elected representatives.
The men and women in the National Assembly are elected representatives of Nigerians and to show them disrespect is to disrespect the Nigerian people.
To pass a vote of no confidence, which the Senate has done, is within its powers as a legislative body; but I think it will be better for the system if the issues leading to this situation are peacefully resolved. • Abdullahi Jalo (Legal practitioner/ Politician)
Compiled by: Mudiaga Affe, Adelani Adepegba and
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