In a multiparty democratic system, the police are expected to be impartial, securing the lives and properties of all, irrespective of social status, religious conviction or political inclination.Over the years, the Nigeria Police has often found it difficult to abide by this simple democratic principle. From the first republic till date, the Nigeria Police has failed to give a good account of itself as an impartial institution protecting democratic rights.Rather, the police have offered themselves for the yeo- men’s job of protecting the high and the mighty. In return, they are given crumbs from the master’s table. This energises them to trample mercilessly on poor folks. This has been the trend, which has tragically got worse with each passing Inspector General of Police.
The coming of Suleiman Abba on stage has further dramatized the sickening politicization of an institution that ought to be insulated from the vagaries of political conflict.Since he was appointed the Acting Inspector-General of Police by the President on July 31, 2014, he has not hidden his subservience and that of the police to the narrow and limited political interests of his masters. In the Osun state governorship election, he detailed the police to arrest and detain over 700 leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC). This was a clear attempt to disrupt the election for no just cause. Strange enough, the detained people have not been charged up to date.
In further demonstration of his political partisanship, the IGP only last week caused the security detail of Aminu Tambuwal, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to be withdrawn on the ground that he had decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.The IGP is said to be a lawyer and he should know better than anybody else that we operate a system where the legislature, executive and the judiciary have operational boundaries. He should have known that his being a lawyer and IGP does not give him the right to usurp the powers of the judiciary, exclusively vested in the courts by section 6 of the Constitution.
Quoting copiously from both relevant and irrelevant sections of the Constitution, the IGP could hardly veil his anger at the fact that the Speaker had decamped from the PDP to the APC. As the head of an institution that enforces law and order, Suleiman should have known that the courts are already handling the issues he gave judgment on in a press release authorized by him.In less than six months of his appointment, his actions and utterances have exposed the police to unwarranted national and international ridicule.
It is common knowledge that when Ondo state legislators, led by their Speaker Jumoke Akindele, elected on the platform of the Labour Party (LP) decamped to the PDP last month, he did not declare their offices vacant. He did not withdraw the security detail of Akindele. His actions against Tambuwal are, therefore, discriminatory and a flagrant violation of the 1999 Constitution.
It is sad that given the security challenges we have in Nigeria today, ,Suleiman, in the pursuit of his limited interest of getting confirmed as the IGP and massaging the huge political egos of his masters will attempt to plunge Nigeria into further chaos. If anything happens to Tambuwal today and violence erupts, Suleiman should be held responsible.