*Leads 10-man ad hoc c’ttee to Buhari
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Senate yesterday constituted a ten-man ad hoc committee to interface with President Muhammadu Buhari on the alleged plot by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to frame-up the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in a criminal case.
This followed a personal explanation on the matter by Saraki at plenary on Wednesday.
Members of the delegation are the Leader of the Senate Ahmed Lawan, the Chief Whip Olusola Adeyeye, Minority Whip Godswill Akpabio, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu(APC-Lagos) and Sen. Raji Rasaki(APC-Ekiti).
Others are Sen. Aliyu Wammakko (APC-Sokoto), Sen. Sam Egwu(PDP-Ebonyi), Sen. Danjuma Goje(APC-Gombe) and Sen. Abdullahi Adamu(APC-Nasarawa).
While addressing his colleagues, Saraki said the Kwara State Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed brought his attention to an alleged plan by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to force some suspects to implicate him in a criminal matter.
He said the Governor informed him that the suspects who were arrested in Kwara for cultism were allegedly ordered by Idris to Abuja to force them into altering their statements.
“According to information available to the Governor, the Inspector General of Police directed the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to immediately transfer the men to the Force Headquarters.
“The plan, as the Governor was made to understand, is that under duress, the suspects would be made to alter the statements already made in Ilorin.
“They will be made to implicate the Kwara State Government, and myself in particular, in their new statement. This plot is part of the strategy by the IGP to settle scores over the declaration by this honourable Chamber that he is not qualified and competent to hold any public office.
“In my view, this plot is an act of desperation, blackmail, intimidation, abuse of office and crude tactics aimed at turning our country into a Police State.
“The tactics is aimed at turning the country into a 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, 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,” he said.
Contributing, the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Na’ Allah, said the matter should be treated with the seriousness it deserved. He said for the matter to come from the Chief Security Officer of Kwara State, it should be taken seriously.
He called for the setting up of a committee to investigate the matter, adding that “in view of the fact that Saraki is involved he should step down for Ekweremadu to preside on setting up of the committee.”
Sen. Gbenga Ashafa-(APC-Lagos) said the committee should comprise of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in view of the fact that Saraki is the Chairman of the National Assembly.
The Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, said the committee should comprise of seven lawmakers with each from each of the six geopolitical zones He added that the House of Representatives should be intimated on the development and advised to do same if they so wished.
Sen. Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) lamented the fact that lawmakers were being intimidated from carrying out their responsibilities.
He said, “We should not trivialize this matter. If it happenings to Saraki then we are all in trouble.
“Many of us have been earmarked. It is a calculated attempt to ridicule the person and integrity of the Senate President and the national Assembly as an institution.
Sen. Kabiru Marafa(APC-Zamfara) suggested that rather than setting up a committee to investigate the matter, the committee should visit President Buhari to inform him of the development.
“There is already a problem between us and the IGP; so I suggest that we raise a committee, as suggested by others, but instead of investigating they should sit down with President Buhari to discuss the matter. This is not a joke; as it can turn democracy upside down.
“If we investigate, where are we to take our resolutions to? They might end up inviting the IG and what if he still doesn’t appear again,’’ he said.
Marafa said visiting the President on the matter and other related matters had become necessary as it was obvious that he was not in the picture of some of the problems lawmakers were facing.
Sen.Emmanuel Bwacha(PDP-Taraba) decried increased spate of intimidation of lawmakers.
He also suggested that the matter should be taken to the president, stressing that,” he ought to know that our democracy is collapsing. “
He further narrated his ordeal when he applied for security backup on his way to a volatile part of his state.
“Each and everyone of us stand the danger of this development. I applied for security backup to an area that is known for kidnapping. As we were proceeding on our way, there was an instruction for the police officers to withdraw to a nearby police station.
“My security detail was withdrawn in an area that is notorious for kidnapping and I was left alone. I had to drive alone in fear. We are no longer safe,” he said.
Sen. Isah Misau(APC-Bauchi) said he brought the recent hounding of lawmakers to their attention when he noticed the turn of events but was not taken seriously.
“When I was making observation in this chamber that a lot of people will fall victim of persecution, people thought I was saying this because of politics. It is not up to year, and everything is coming to light.
“We know that under any government, no minister is arrested without the knowledge of the president. Today, lawmakers are arrested and detained without the knowledge of Senate President and everyone kept quiet.
“Why should an appointees of the govt be doing this. For me, we are not running a democracy. Let us know what we are operating in Nigeria because we cannot continue to operate under intimidation. Let us see President Buhari, so that it can be on record,” he said.
In his remark, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu said, “We all know that the Parliament is the temple of democracy. We have the responsibility to our people not only to preserve our democracy but to also ensure that it is purified.
“What the Senate President has raised today is an exposure of some of the things that are wrong with our democracy which we need to halt. So we need to ensure there is rule of laws and we need to ensure that we respect our various rights.
“We are a country that is bound by conventions, laws, culture and tradition. So it is our responsibility, as a Parliament, to ensure that we protect the rights of our citizens to ensure that we make progress as a nation, especially on the issues of human rights and democracy,” he said.