Senate’s team to meet Buhari over alleged IG’s plot to frame Saraki

The crisis between the Senate and Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, worsened on Wednesday with the lawmakers resolving to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to report the activities of the police boss to him.

President of the Senate, Mr Bukola Saraki, had at the plenary on Wednesday told the chamber that IG was plotting to implicate him in the trial of some suspects arrested in Kwara State.

Also on Wednesday, some senators alleged that the IG had withdrawn policemen guarding them.

On his part, Saraki said he was informed by Kwara State Governor, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, that the suspects had been moved from the state to Abuja for prosecution allegedly on the orders of IG.

He added that part of the plan was to doctor the statements made by the suspects to implicate him in the trial.

He said, “My distinguished colleagues, there is an issue which I need to bring to your attention very urgently.

“Last night, my state governor, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, revealed to me information at his disposal that a group of suspects who had been arrested and were in police cells for several weeks in our state for cultism, and whose investigation had been concluded and were about to be under prosecution under the state law on the advice of Director of Public Prosecutions and the Ministry of Justice, have all of a sudden been ordered to be transferred to Abuja this morning.

“The information reaching me, as he received it from the Commissioner of Police, is that they (police) have been directed by the IG to bring them (suspects) to Abuja. With the information that he (Ahmed) has, it is for them to find how to alter their (the suspects’) statement already made in Ilorin and try and implicate the state government and particularly myself.

“As we speak now, those suspects are already here in Abuja. These acts, I don’t know whether to call it desperation, blackmail or intimidation. All action to undermine our democracy is a recipe for anarchy because we are doing our work by asking officials to obey the law, due process and subject themselves to constituted authority.

“I think it is important that I bring this dangerous development to your attention; the attention of the entire country and the international community to the level of impunity we are undergoing in this country and the danger to our democracy.”

In the written speech, a part of which he read out at the plenary, Saraki linked the alleged plot to invitations by the Senate to the IG, which the police boss did not answer in person.

He said, “This 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.

“In my own view, this plot is an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactic aimed at turning our country into a police state where top officials cannot be made to obey the law, follow due process and subject themselves to constituted authorities.

“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 Senate, therefore, resolved that a delegation, consisting of the leadership of the Senate and some members, mostly former governors, should meet with the President on the matter.

Senate names team to meet Buhari
Ekweremadu in his ruling on Wednesday, said, “We have agreed that we are going to set up an ad hoc committee. This committee will engage with the President as soon as possible to be able to deal not only with this, but to also ensure that the President takes charge in matters concerning preserving our rights and protecting our democracy.”

Members of the delegation to be led by Saraki are Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan; Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio; Chief Whip, Sola Adeyeye; Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Adamu, Samuel Egwu, Aliyu Wamakko, Fatima Raji-Rasaki and Oluremi Tinubu.

Before the resolution was made, Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, after Saraki’s presentation, raised a point of order to ask why Saraki raised the matter without throwing the matter open to the Senate for a debate and investigation.

“If indeed this allegation is true, we will need to take some resolutions and bring it to the appropriate authorities. It will not be right for us to wait for the dubious act being planned to happen before we react,” he said.

Responding, Saraki said he only wanted to inform the Senate but the lawmakers could take up the matter.

Akpabio prayed the Senate to mandate a committee to probe the allegation against the police.

Seconding Akpabio’s prayer, Ahmed Sani said the matter should be referred to a committee for investigation.

Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said Ahmed must have informed Saraki about the alleged plot from an informed position as chief security officer of Kwara.

“We cannot just sweep that matter under the carpet,” he stated.

Na’Allah asked that a panel of “very experienced members who have been here for some time and who know about this kind of issue” be mandated to probe the matter.

He prayed that Saraki be absolved of constituting the committee, asking him to step down from presiding over the session and allow the Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu, to take over and name members of the panel.

The prayer was unanimously granted.

Ekweremadu asked the lawmakers to make suggestions on the action to be taken.

Both Chief Whip, Sola Adeyeye; Minority Whip, Philip Aduda; and Gbenga Ashafa, called for a joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Also, Samuel Anyanwu said, “I don’t want us to trivialise this issue, it is a very serious matter. If this matter has to do with the Senate President of Nigeria, then all of us are in trouble. I remember that I said from February, all of us will be in the cell one after the other. We have come to that point.

“We should look for crack people who can do a forensic investigation of this issue and bring it to the public domain, so that Nigerians will understand the persecution we are going through now.

“As it stands, I can assure you that already, some of us have been earmarked for destruction just because we speak out. But as far as I am concerned, it is only one bullet and one life. This democracy cannot be ridiculed.”

Punch

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