November 04, 2014.
By: Joe Onwukeme
The withdrawal of police details of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives, by the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Suleiman Abba, on Thursday, 30th October, is a clear indictment on the Nigerian Police Force in partisan politics.
In a statement issued by the Force Headquarters in Abuja, the IGP said, “In view of the recent defection by Honourable Aminu Waziri Tanbuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), and having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has redeployed its personnel attached to his office.”
Listening to the IGP’s interpretation of Nigeria’s constitution on why Tambuwal’s security aides were withdrawn due to his defection, the following questions became necessary for Suleiman Abba to answer.
Did Hon. Aminu Tambuwal tender his resignation letter to the members of the House Representatives?
If not, has he been impeached by two-thirds majority of the members of the house?
Which Court in Nigeria declared his seat vacant and ordered his security aides to be withdrawn?
Which of Nigeria’s constitution or police act conferred the Nigerian police the power to enact and interpret laws in Nigeria?
On whose order was the IGP obeying to carry out this malicious act capable of breaking down law and order?
Those are the pertinent questions I will like IGP Abba to answer Nigerians.
In one of my recent articles, “Nigerian Police And Opposition Government”, I asserted that thefear of not granting state police due to politicians hijack and using it as a weapon of intimidation is now being portrayed at the centre where police takes orders directly from the centre to witch hunt the state governments in the opposition.
I gave examples of states where Nigerian police and other security agencies have been indicted in partisan politics and I said, “The bad news about this development is that it has resulted to Nigerians losing confidence on our security agencies leading to self-help with frequent clashes of the supporters of the ruling and opposition parties on the increase, endangering our hard earned democracy”.
I finally posited, “The need to insulate the police from partisan politics should be given urgent attention and state governors should not just be chief security officers of their states on paper, they should have a say when it comes to security issues in their states”.
The involvement of our security agencies in partisan politics over the years is part of the reasons our democracy has been lethargic, slothful and slow. The dearth of reputable institutions has reduced our security agencies to mere political stooge designed to witch hunt assumed enemies of the Federal Government, vital issues don’t follow laid down procedures or protocols any more.
Nigerian police has taken over the functions of the legislature and the judiciary, through selective persecution they have enacted and interpreted the laws by themselves, enforced it on Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and are defending their silly action.
Our problem in Nigeria is misplaced priorities and until we separate our security agencies from partisan politics, little or nothing will be achieved in curbing insurgency and high rate of crime in Nigeria.
No matter the part of the constitution Mr. Speaker breached, it was improper and inappropriate for the Nigerian Police to withdraw Mr. Speaker’s security aides. What happened at the House of Representatives should remain there. This is an administrative issue; the parties involved should sort themselves out. It is only when the speaker resigns or is impeached that his security aides should be withdrawn; this act of unprofessional conduct by the Force Headquarters should be condemned and the IGP should be reprimanded for personalizing issues that can lead to anarchy in Nigeria.
IGP in his statement further asserted that Section 68. (1) (g) of Nigerian constitution states:“A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if: being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected; Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored”.
From the above statement, I want to also add this question to the earlier asked questions for the IGP to answer. What did the Nigerian constitution say about a governor that was elected on a platform of a party whose party was not in any crisis or division that defected to the ruling party?
Joe Onwukeme: An Idealist Wrote From Enugu
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