Femi Falana Mocks Senate Over Inability to Summon IGP
Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana has taunted the Senate over their inability to successfully summon the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris before them.
The IGP has twice been summoned by the Senate and on both occasions, he has sent a proxy instead and on both occasions, the proxy was sent back.
On Wednesday, the Senate resolved to declare Idris as persona non-grata, a move which the police have condemned stating that the IGP is well within his rights to send in a proxy.
Falana while speaking on a Channels TV programme on Thursday, said he was sympathetic towards the plight of the Senate but that they were wrong to call the IGP and that their concerns– on National security– were better directed to the minister of interior and the attorney-general of the federation.
He said; “By virtue of section 67 (2) of the constitution, either chamber can summon a minister when the affairs of his or her ministry are under consideration. The only other occasion a public officer can be summoned by the national assembly is when proceedings are ongoing to expose corruption and when a law is being debated either with a view to amending it or to have a new law entirely.
“But there is no such powers given to the national assembly by the constitution to summon everybody.”
On whether the President could be summoned by the Senate; “No. Section 67 (1) has given the president the discretion to address the national assembly either jointly or separately, on any matter of national importance. The president or the governor of a state cannot be summoned; that is the constitution.
“The national assembly has my sympathy, but what can be done? The constitutional review is ongoing. You can deal with this lacuna, or the gaps you have identified.
“But don’t go outside the limit of your powers. When you do that, you ridicule the constitution. And that is what is going on.”
He also noted that the Senate were being hypocritical in calling the IGP over the case of Dino Melaye while many Nigerians suffered Police brutality daily but were never assured.
“When you do that, you lose public support. It is the height of hypocrisy to say because the police has brutalised our member, the IG must come. What of thousands of Nigerians that are brutalised daily?”
He continued “Don’t single out the harassment of your member to summon the IG, that is where they lost it. They shouldn’t have mixed Melaye’s case with the killings.
“As far as the constitution is concerned, the person to summon is the minister of interior and the attorney-general, and they have the powers to do that. The minister can be summoned but there is no provision for summoning the IG or the customs boss to appear in one uniform or the other, it is not there.”