The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has gone to court to challenge his summon by the Nigerian Senate.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 457/2018, Idris is seeking an injunctive order of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja restraining, “the Senate and Senate President, Bukola Saraki of their assigns, agents or any committees from insisting that he must appear before the upper legislative chambers in person, to the exclusion of any of his subordinate officers.”
The IGP explained to the court why he could not honour the Senate invitation in person, saying that he was “directed by the President to be among the presidential entourage embarking on a two day official trip to Bauchi State and therefore on the said April 26, 2018, he was in Bauchi State on an assignment.
“That as a result of the above development, he then directed and delegated the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, an Assistant Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, who had adequate knowledge of the two subject matters which the Senate required briefing, to appear before the Senate on April 26, 2018 on his behalf.” the suit explained.
The plaintiff told the court that the Senate refused the appearance of the aforesaid officers.
Also, in the suit filed by his lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon, the Inspector General of Police urged the court to declare that the letters inviting him by the Senate dated April 25, 2018 and April 26, 2018, relating to pending criminal proceedings against Senator Dino Melaye in court of law is beyond its powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution and same is contrary to the Senate Standing Order, 2015, and the provision of section 6(6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, and, therefore null, void and of no effect.
In an 11-paragraph affidavit in support to the suit, the IGP said in the letter dated April 26, 2018, with the heading, “Invitation to brief the Senate on the inhuman treatment of Senator Dino Melaye over a matter that is pending in Court,” it clearly showed that the Senate is aware that the said Senator Dino Melaye is facing criminal charge in a court of law and that he is not answerable to the Senate but to the Judicial arm of Government trying the matter.
The deponent, Lukman Fagbemi, averred that the said Senator Dino Melaye is facing a charge of criminal conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms before a court of competent jurisdiction in Kogi State.
Citing the case law in IGP vs. Kabiru Seidu, aka Osama & 3 others, the plaintiff argued that once the charge is before a court of competent jurisdiction, it is only the Judicial arm of Government that adjudicates and disposes of the matter one way or the other and not subject to oversight functions of the Senate under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as claimed by the Senate.
He further argued that the Chapter Viii Rule 53 (5) of the Senate Standing Order prohibits any reference to any matter in which any judicial decision is pending, in this case the charge before the court in Lokoja, Kogi State is still pending.
In addition, the police boss submitted that there is no where the discussion on Dino Melaye’s case by the Senate will not relate to or impact on the matter in court. That under the 1999 Constitution, and the Police Act, the holder of his office (IGP), can delegate or direct the carrying out of its functions by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Commissioner of Police. [myad]