The crisis between the Senate and the Inspector-General of Police, 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.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, had at the plenary on Wednesday told the chamber that the 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Also on Wednesday, some senators alleged that the IG had withdrawn policemen guarding them.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 the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, that the suspects had been moved from the state to Abuja for prosecution allegedly on the orders of the 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 the 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.
Saraki’s allegation, a ruse –Police
But the police refuted Saraki’s allegations that the IG was plotting to frame him for the bank robbery in Offa, Kwara State.
The force in a statement by its spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, expressed shock over the allegation, describing it as “a ruse and an attempt to divert police investigation into the killings of more than 11 innocent people from Kwara and other states of the federation in the recent past by the killer squad who operates under the guise of a cult group.”
The force said it would not condone interference in its investigation, adding that “any person or group who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.”
“The Force therefore wishes to categorically state that, there is no iota of truth in the allegation and false assertion by the Senate President of plot against him by the IGP to implicate the Kwara State Government and the Senate President in any criminal matter,” the police added.
Moshood explained that the six suspects that were paraded for alleged involvement in the bank robbery confessed to the crime and were transferred to the Force headquarters for further investigations.
“He said the IG had no vested interest in the ongoing investigation into the several murders committed by the killer gang, other than ensuring that justice prevails in the matter.
“Nobody, no matter how highly placed would be allowed to interfere or obstruct police investigation to pervert the course of justice,” Moshood said.
The spokesman said the statement credited to the Senate President could discourage victims and families of those killed in the robbery from giving evidence against the suspects.
“The Force will leave no stone unturned and will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure justice in this matter, no matter whose ox is gored,” the police insisted.
Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had penultimate Monday met with Buhari where they reported the police boss to the President over his alleged disdain for the legislature.
Senate names team to meet Buhari
But in spite of the IG’s dismissal of the allegation, 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 take charge in matters concerning preserving our rights and protecting our democracy.”