Posted by News Express | 12 May 2018 | 1,092 times
A prominent civil rights organisation, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said that present scenario where the Inspector General of Police (IGP) refuses to respect legislative summons spells doom for constitutional democracy in the country if it is not urgently checked.
The group, therefore, asked the National Assembly to amend the relevant sections of the Constitution and the Police Act to minimise the chances of a holder of the office of IGP from constituting himself/herself as an impediment to the smooth administration of constitutional democracy.
HURIWA said the extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution which concede overwhelming powers of dismissal to the near-rubber stamped National Police Council and the indirect total control of such disciplinary powers on the discretion of the President is the reason the current IGP has consistently disrespected the lawful invitations of the Federal parliament to provide clarifications on burning national security issues just as these nebulous provisions of the Constitution which created the National Police Council seems to have made it operationally impossible for any forms of checks and balances to be brought to bear on the office of the IGP should the occupant be a ‘slave boy’ of the current holder of the Executive office of the President.
The rights group stated that as it stands now, the holder of the Inspector General of Police has constituted himself into an autonomous government of itself and the President seems to be using him or keeping him for some game plan just as the Rights group affirmed that the disrespectful tendencies of the IGP constitute a grave threat to national security.
HURIWA said it was an egregious and very fundamental error of judgment by the original framers of the extant constitution to have made a provision for the National Police Council that ab initio can only operate at the whims and caprices of the Executive arm of government without any forms of legislative or judicial safeguards in matters of gross professional indiscipline that the holder of the office of IGP may have been indicted.
HURIWA which also throws its weight behind the decision of the National Assembly to soon declare the IGP a persona non grata however stated that the unambiguous misconduct and direct threats to constitutional democracy which is the best way to classify the failure of the current IGP to obey summons should compel the National Assembly to as a matter of national emergency convoke a speedy constitutional amendment measures to broaden the scope of membership of the National police council to include representatives of the judiciary, Civil society and the legislature and to further subject the final powers to hire or fire the IGP to the prerogative of the National Assembly through an impeachment process similar but not as technically tough as the provisions on the impeachment or removal of the President.
The group said that the clear disrespect of the National Assembly by the IGP Ibrahim Kpodum Idris is not to be taken lightly since that is a direct invitation to the military to overthrow the government since the Executive and legislative Arms of government can't seem to control the holder of the office of the IGP just as HURIWA stated that this calls for urgent and comprehensive move to legislate a Doctrine of Necessity bringing into effect the immediate abrogation of the part of the Constitution on the National Police Council to bring the office of the IGP under the authority of the parliamentary institution in the area of the powers to legislate his compulsory retirement through a two third majority votes in both chambers of the National Assembly.
“Under the extant constitution, the President can only remove the IGP after consultation with the National Police Council which has a membership drawn largely from the Executive arm of government. Article 27 of part 11 of the Supplementary and interpretative schedule of the Constitution, the Nigeria Police Council is to be composed of the President as Chairman, the governors, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission; the Inspector General of Police. This provision is unrealistic because how do you make a man a member of a body that ought to discipline him? The National Assembly must stop complaining and whining like school children but should invoke their powers of alteration of the Constitution in accordance with section 9 of the Nigerian Constitution.” HURIWA urged the National Assembly to withhold the passage of the budgetary provisions meant for the Police until such a time that the National Police Council shall be convoked to dismiss the current I G of Police.
It recalled that rising from its closed-door session, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the lawmakers resolved to declare the IG persona non grata, stressing that he is not fit to hold any public office in Nigeria or any other country.
HURIWA quoted Saraki as affirming that a court, which the Police boss approached over his earlier invitation by the Senate, ruled that the lawmakers had the powers to summon him or any other public officer.
I recalled that the decision of the Senate was announced by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after a closed-door session on Wednesday.
HURIWA said the Senate had entered the closed-door session following Mr Idris’ refusal to honour an invitation to appear before the Senate a third time.
Information made available to the offices of the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, disclosed that the executive session which started at 12:24 p.m. lasted for about 50 minutes.
HURIWA said also that on return to plenary, Mr Saraki announced the decision of his colleagues. It recalled that Senate President stated thus: “The Senate in a closed session deliberated on the non-appearance of the IGP to the Senate to the plenary after a series of invitation. The Senate noted that this has been a gross disrespect to our constituted authority and to also know that his earlier refusal to appear before the investigative committee was overruled by competent court of jurisdiction just in April this year.
“The Sen, therefore,ore views this persistent refusal is a great danger to our democracy and hence the Senate resolved to declare IGP as an enemy of democracy and not fit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria. The leader of the Senate would also mandate to look into the matter for further necessary action,” Mr Saraki said.
Mr Idris was summoned by the Senate to answer questions on the arrest of a lawmaker, Dino Melaye, and killings across the country, HURIWA recalled.
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