IGP Idris: Why I Ignored Senate’s Invitation For The Third Time

IBRAHIM Idris, the Inspector General of Police has reeled out his reasons for refusing to appear before the Nigerian Senate the third time he was summoned.

Mr Idris was summoned by the Senate to answer questions on the arrest of a lawmaker, Dino Melaye, and killings across the country.

His first invitation was issued on April 25, however, he failed to appear stating that his reason is because he accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari to Bauchi.

Mr Idris sent a deputy Inspector-General of Operations to represent him but the lawmakers rejected his representation and re-summoned Mr Idris to appear before the chamber on May 2. Again, he did not show up.

The chairman, senate committee on police affairs, Abu Ibrahim said last week he had not been able to reach Mr Idris for a while.

He said he later found out the police chief had travelled to Kaduna instead of honouring the Senate’s invitation.

When Mr Idris failed to appear before the senators for the second time, Mr Saraki highlighted the worrisome pattern in the Inspector-General’s overall conduct, saying he was not surprised because Mr Idris repeatedly ignored even the president himself.

Mr Idris was summoned to relocate to Benue State following the deadly attacks on villagers there in January, but the police chief barely spent three days before departing the restive North-central altogether. Over a month later, Mr Buhari expressed shock‎ when told by Benue residents during a condolence visit there that Mr Idris flouted his order.

The Senate issued a third summons following a suggestion by Mr Saraki.

Mr Idris was asked to attend the senate plenary Wednesday, May 9.

But when it was time for the IGP to be ushered in to the senate chamber, the lawmakers realised Mr Idris was not available.

This angered the Senate who declared him unfit to hold public office both in and outside the country.

But in a statement signed by police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, the police boss said he failed to appear for a third time Wednesday because he found no reason to do so, having learnt that the invitation was “a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting, unfortunate and mischievous” on the part of senators.

He described the lawmakers as people who are trying to blackmail him into perverting the course of justice.

Mr Idris has repeatedly said he will not honour the invitation, citing sections of the Constitution and extant police statutes that appear to support his stance.

“In accordance with the extant laws in Nigeria, the functions, duties and responsibilities of the Inspector General of Police as stated in Section 215(1a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, and the Police Act and Regulations Section 309(1) can also be carried out as mentioned in sections 7(1),312(1), 313(2) of the Police Act and Regulations by a senior officer of the Force of the Rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police or an Assistant Inspector General of Police who if permitted by the Inspector General of Police to act on his behalf or represent him in an official capacity at any official function, event or programme within and outside Nigeria can do so in consonant with the provisions of the Police Act and Regulations,” Mr Idris said in the statement.

Mr Moshood, an assistant police commissioner, said Mr Idris had delegated some of his subordinates to represent him before the lawmakers, an option the senators strongly rejected, mandating Mr Idris’ appearance in person rather than through a surrogate.

Mr Idris said he informed Mr Saraki in a warning letter on Tuesday that he would not be honouring Senate’s invitation again on Wednesday. He said he saw Wednesday’s attack on his person by the senators as “deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting with mischievous motives to hand-twist” him “to pervert the end of justice in a felonious and serious offenses” relating to Mr Melaye.

When Mr Idris obeyed President Buhari’s directive, the State House released a statement saying Mr Idris was summoned and queried by the president. But Mr Idris fired back , saying he was never summoned and challenging administration officials who issued the statement to show evidence of his being queried.

The presidency has remained quiet on that matter ever since.

This is not the first time an appointee of the president disobeyed the red chamber.

A stalemate between senators and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali,‎ occured months ago when the lawmakers asked Mr Ali, a retired colonel, to wear Customs uniform, to conform with tradition of the institution he represents, whenever he is billed to appear before them. Mr Ali rejected that demand.

Mr Buhari did not openly intervene in the matter at the time, and it was not immediately clear what he is doing to prevent further standoff between his aides and the legislature.

On Monday, Mr Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara said they met with Mr Buhari at the State House to discuss the attitude of Mr Idris amongst other national issues.

Following the meeting with Messrs Saraki and Dogara on Monday, Mr Buhari reportedly told them he would look into Mr Idris’ action; but the tone of the police chief’s latest statement indicates little progress on the part of the president.