IG At Senate, Refuses To Answer Questions
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on Wednesday appeared before the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the allegations levelled against him by lawmaker representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, Senator Isa Misau.
The police boss, was accompanied by his lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN); and the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, as well as chiefs of the Nigeria Police.
Tempers however rose after Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Alimekhena, read a summary of the probe and its objectives, and asked the IG to make comments before an oath could be administered on him for his submissions.
Izinyon, however, rose to speak instead, but he was interrupted by the lawmakers who pointed out that the Police boss must be the one to speak.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria insisted on speaking on behalf of his client but the lawmakers insisted that he was not recognised by the panel.
While the exchange was ongoing, Enang rushed to where the panelists were seated and approached Alimikhena, whispering some information into his ears.
Agreeing to speak for himself, Idris told members of the panel that he would not answer any question from them as the matter was pending in court.
He said, “I will not make any oral comment or answer any question in respect of the allegations in view of the various civil and criminal cases pending in the law courts; more especially when the senator has already been arraigned in court in respect of this matter.
“I decided to appear before this Senate committee on the allegations out of high respect I have for the Senate and my respect for the rule of law.
“Furthermore, it is expected that the Senate and the committee will refrain from making references to the issues as it will be against Order 41 (7) and 53 (5) of the Senate Standing Orders 2 (15) as amended.”
After the IG’s submission, Izinyon told the committee that a court order was obtained on Wednesday morning directing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and members of the committee to appear at the FCT High Court on November 18, 2017, “to show cause and for hearing of the substantive application.”
A copy of the court ruling, which was sighted by our correspondent after the meeting, granted an “interim injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, privies, assigns and whosoever acting through them from taking further steps in connection with the subject matter of the application or maintaining the status quo or staying all actions relating to their investigations of the application pending the determination of the original application or in the alternative granting an order for the Respondents to show cause why the order should not be made.”
Izinyon also cited Order 53(5) of the “Senate Standing Rules which states that reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending in such a way as might, in the opinion of the President of the Senate, prejudice the interest of parties thereto.”
The lawyer urged the panel to adhere to the Senate rules, saying that a document had been submitted to the committee with detailed response to each of the allegations against Idris.
Izinyon also pointed out that the case of alleged virement in the 2016 budget of the Nigeria Police by the IG without legislative approval was a criminal matter.
The IG was accused of diverting N7.2bn appropriated for Armoured Personnel Carriers and rehabilitation of 102 barracks across the country to purchase of personal vehicles, among others.
A member of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, however, retorted, asking Izinyon, “Do you know the opinion of the Senate President on this matter?”
The lawmaker added, “This place is not a law court; this is a parliament, and you will be doing us a favour if you toe the line for a quick resolution of the contending issues. The IG is in charge of peace and security. Assuming a warrant was issued for his arrest, he has the statutory role of effecting it by bringing himself here.
“If the IG has come, he should allow the committee to do its work. If he is not inclined to speak because of the legal implications, he can so submit and we will get back to him.”
Several members of the committee who spoke agreed that the investigative hearing be adjourned to allow them to study the submissions made by the IG and his lawyer.
Enang, who made a closing remark, expressed appreciation for “the warm reception” and for the move by the lawmakers to adjourn the hearing.
“I hope the adjournment is not just to study the document but also to pursue a multi-door option on the matter,” he said.
Alimikhena thereafter adjoined the hearing “sine die.”
Misau had earlier appeared before the panel, where he made more allegations against the Police boss including how Idris gave two Sports Utility Vehicles to wife of the President, Aisha Buhari.
Misau had accused the Nigeria Police and Idris of collecting N120bn annually from high-profile persons and corporate organisations for security services among other corruption allegations.