- As IGP withdraws Tambuwal’s security
- Action is impunity, contempt of court – Speaker
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday alleged that the presidency is hatching another plot to throw the nation into another politically-motivated crisis over the recent defection of the Speaker of the House Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, by plotting to compel the Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha to unlawfully reconvene the House before the adjourned date.
The APC alleged foul play in the plot to instigate Ihedioha to ultimately take over as the Speaker after illegally reconvening the House, in defiance of Tambuwal who remains the substantive Speaker of the House.
“The APC rejects this challenge to democracy and modern society. We reject President Jonathan’s illegality and call for respect and compliance with the law. We reject this meddling in the affairs of the Legislature, especially given the resolution of President Jonathan and his close advisers yesterday at their meeting to ask the Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha to unlawfully reconvene the House before the adjourned date.
“May we remind President Goodluck Jonathan that under the House Rules, only a resolution by all principal officers of the House and not even the Speaker of the House can reconvene the House before the adjourned date not to talk of the Deputy Speaker,” a statement by the opposition party said yesterday.
It would be recalled that the Speaker had on Tuesday announced his formal defection from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), to the All Progressives Congress (APC), but did not resign as the Speaker of the House.
But barely 48 hours after the Speaker’s formal defection, the acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba yesterday ordered the immediate redeployment of security personnel attached to the Speaker.
This was contained in a statement, signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Ag. CP Emmanuel Ojukwu, in Abuja.
The statement said the redeployment was necessary having regard to the clear provision of section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
According to the statement, “In view of the recent defection by the Right Hon. Aminu Waziri Tanbuwal, CFR, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, and having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has redeployed its personnel attached to his office”.
The withdrawal of the security aides is coming a day after President Goodluck Jonathan met with some PDP leaders, governors as well as the National Working Committee (NWC) with the PDP Caucus in the House of Representatives.
The APC, in a swift reaction, objected to what it described as attempt to subvert Nigeria’s democratic process, by meddling in the affairs of the Legislature. It said that the order to Ihedioha suggests also that Tambuwal has ceased to be Speaker following his defection, in the eyes of the PDP.
It could be recalled that Ihedioha was part of yesterday’s closed door meeting President Goodluck Jonathan had with some PDP leaders as well as the NWC meeting with the House PDP Caucus.
Peoples Daily also gathered that officers of the State Security Service (SSS) attached to the Speaker might have been withdrawn also.
A source, who worked under the Speaker, told our correspondent that the security details protecting the Speaker were yesterday withdrawn early, leaving the Speaker with his domestic staff only.
“As I’m speaking to you all the Police officers, SSS details and members of the Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who were protecting the Speaker, have all left the House without notice.
“Early this morning, few minutes after midnight to be precise, a top-level security report informed the Speaker that orders have been given for the withdrawal of his security details,” the source, who declined to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the media, said.
The Speaker, who attended the extraordinary national convention of the APC, which held at the old parade ground in Abuja, expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their support, promising that he would continue to work for the development of the country.
In reaction, the House Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Suleiman Kawu Sumaila (APC, Kano), condemned the action of the presidency.
In a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Kawu said the Jonathan administration has, by this action, taken Nigeria 50 years backward.
“The Presidency and PDP-led government are destroying Nigerian democracy and gradually plunging the country into despotism.
“I call on all pro-democracy activists at all levels to rise up against the government and its despotic tendencies.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker has described the withdrawal of his security details by the IGP as a contempt of court and against the Constitution.
Tambuwal, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Imam Imam yesterday, said he was shocked by the action of the Police, citing a breach Section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 ConstitutionThe statement said the Police order was a ploy to cause harm to the Speaker, which he said has violated provisions of the 1999 constitution and the police force Act.
“The implication of the Inspector-General of Police’s statement is that he has removed Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from office of Speaker House of Representatives,” said the statement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the question of whether or not there is a division or faction in the PDP has been resolved by Lord Justice Faji of the Ilorin Division of Federal High Court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/605/2013 in which the court held that indeed there were factions in the PDP.
“Again in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/ 605/2013, the Sokoto Division of the Federal High Court per Justice Aikawa, the judgment of the court was that there was not only Division but faction in the PDP which later merged with the APC.
The statement added that, since Tambuwal is the number four citizen in the hierarchy of protocol in the country, he is entitled to security protection by the security agencies irrespective of whichever party he belongs.
“Therefore, we see the action of the Acting Inspector General of Police as not only contempt of the courts but a ploy to bring harm to the person of Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
“In any case, even Section 215 of the 1999 Constitution does not contemplate the issuing of or compliance with unlawful orders by the President and or the Inspector General of Police respectively,” it said.
The statement said that the Police Force has no constitutional power in either the 1999 Constitution or in the Police Act to adjudicate or interpret the Constitution.
For it’s part, the APC also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to show better understanding of democracy by immediately restoring the police security details the IGP withdrew from the Speaker.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, it said,”It is unfortunate that President Jonathan, who had been a successive long term and unique beneficiary of our democracy and Constitution is now demonstrating the greatest disregard for the laws that govern and guide us as a people.
“President Jonathan, who is the only individual who benefited from the same Constitution to become a Governor from a Deputy Governor without an election and from a Vice President to President in similar legal circumstances now desecrates the same Constitution.
“Regrettably, the priority of President Goodluck Jonathan on the night that Mubi, a town with a population of about two million people in Adamawa state, fell to the Boko Haram insurgents was how to illegally remove the Aminu Tambuwal as the Speaker of the House of Representatives”, the APC stated.