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Ibrahim Idris IGP begs court to stop Saraki, Senate from questioning him

He told the court that he can't always personally show up for summons to the National Assembly.

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IGP Idris begs court to stop Saraki, Senate from questioning him play Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris (Press)
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The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has begged an Abuja division of the Federal High Court to restrain the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly from summoning him to personally appear for legislative hearings.

According to a report by The Punch, the IGP's lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), filed the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/457/2018, on April 30, 2018.

In the application, the IGP noted to the court that his personal appearance in front of lawmakers was unnecessary. He argued that if he appeared before lawmakers every time he gets summoned, he would have no time to attend to his responsibilities of securing the country.

The IGP begged the court to declare personal summons to the parliament unconstitutional, arguing that he can delegate such summons to his subordinates as provided for under the Nigerian constitution and the Police Act.

With Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria listed as the defendants in the suit, they filed a counter-affidavit accusing the IGP of trying to use the court to shield himself from legislative scrutiny. They begged the court to dismiss the IGP's suit because his subordinates cannot offer a comprehensive clarification on the issues that are up for discussion, making it important that he personally shows up.

During the hearing of the case on Thursday, May 31, presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned till June 29 for the hearing of the suit.

IGP vs Senate

IGP Idris and the upper legislative chamber have been involved in a very public feud because he has turned down three invitations to appear before the National Assembly to answer questions over the treatment of Kogi lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, by police officers, as well as general insecurity across the country.

While the IGP maintained that he could send subordinates to appear on his behalf, the Senate refused the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations) and other senior officers from representing the police chief.

He failed to show up to summons scheduled for April 26, May 2, and May 9, which led to the Senate declaring him an enemy of democracy and unfit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria.

Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, reported the IGP to President Muhammadu Buhari during a closed door meeting early in May.

Saraki said, "We also of course raised the non-appearance of the Inspector-General of Police at the Senate and felt that we must continue to ensure there is adherence to constitutional authority.

"He is a great concern, this is the first time it happened and that matter needs to be addressed considering the importance of the constitution that gives investigative power to us.

"And that there is need for the police to accept that they too are under that constitution and they must obey that; we raised that concern."

During plenary on May 16, Saraki further accused the IGP of plotting to implicate him in a criminal case by obtaining false confessings from cultists who had been arrested in his home state of Kwara where he was governor between 2003 and 2011.

This accusation led to another meeting between a 10-man senate delegation and President Buhari where the IGP's issue was discussed.

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