Government

Lawmakers on Warpath with Inspector General of Police over Continued detention of NASS Member

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Lawmakers of the House of Representatives, resolved on Wednesday to summon the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris over the continued detention of a member of the House.

The lawmakers are demanding for the release of the lawmaker representing APC Niger state, Abubakar Lado who was arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) within 12 hours.

Abubarka Lado who currently represents Gurara/Suleja/Tafa Federal Constituency of Niger State has apparently been in the custody of the men of the Nigeria Police for the last three days.

The lawmakers brought the matter before the House under matters of urgent public importance by Rep. Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu) at the first plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

According to Okechukwu, the lawmaker had been in detention for three days against the provisions of the constitution.

He said further that the House was briefed that his detention arose out of issues related to the recently concluded All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in the state.

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He also told the House that the embattled lawmaker, Abubarka Lado had informed police authorities about efforts by his political opponents to cause chaos in the state before he was arrested.

“The House is aware that the invitation of Lado was not done through due process and therefore breaches the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act which requires notification of presiding officer before any member is invited or arrested.

The House is aware of the detention of Lado by SARS. The House is further aware of his continued detention for the past three days.

The action offends the Nigerian constitution and amount to inhuman and degrading treatment,” he said as he bemoaned the fact that the intervention of the leadership of the House of Representatives in the matter had been rebuffed by the Police.

“The intervention of the House leadership was rebuffed by the Nigerian police ostensibly because it is only the Governor of Niger State, Mr Abubakar Bello, that can give instruction for his release,” he said further.

Another lawmaker Nnenna Ukeje (PDP-Abia), added his voice to the matter as he also bemoaned that the Police who is supposed to implement the law flouts the law at will.

“If people of this calibre can be treated with such disdain, you can imagine what the 180 million Nigerians go through on a daily basis,” she said.

Rep. Osai Osai (PDP-Delta), who noted that the responsibility of the reformed SARS is to arrest robbery and kidnapping culprits, said the organisation had gone beyond its mandate.

Rep Olawale Raji (APC-Lagos) narrated that members who visited the SARS office where the lawmaker was detained were snubbed by the police.

“They were very rude to those of us that visited Lado in the detention and so many Nigerians are suffering the same treatment by the police. The conduct of the Nigerian Police Force, particularly the SARS, is absurd,” he said.

Raji, also called on the House to order the IGP to release their member within 24 hours or suspend further sittings until he is released as he reiterated that the matter should be taken with all seriousness and action expedited on it.

Raji’s call was supported by Rep Segun Adekola (PDP-Ekiti) who said the situation called for a sober reflection as efforts must be made to stop the ongoing impunity in the country.

He therefore, supported Raji’s motion that the House be shut down should the police fail to release Lado.

Taken the situation a step further, the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), moved that IGP Idris be invited if the police failed to release Lado within 12 hours.

Gbajabiamila, who was also among the delegation that visited the lawmaker in detention further described the attitude of the police officers as unfriendly.

“The responsibility of SARS is embedded in its name; Special Anti-Robbery Squad. They told us his offence was a case of ‘two fighting’ and we asked where the other person, who is the chairman of the council is, they said he is not here.

They said we should go and see the IG and when we got to his office, we couldn’t see him. They told us the only person that can release him is the governor,” he said angrily.

Gbajabiamila said further that if nothing was done, Lado would continue to be in detention even till next week on the pretext of two fighting.

“This is impunity and something needs to be done. Our colleague is being harassed as I saw him yesterday.

My amendment to this is that should we not be able to release him today, the IGP
should come to this House tomorrow and tell us why any citizen should be held for three days.

When the offence for which he is being charged with is not a capital offence and should tell us why the other person is walking freely.

The government is being given a bad name and I am sure that the government is not aware of this. It was just some bad and overzealous elements doing this,” he concluded.

Yinusa McBrian Momoh is an enthusiastic individual who believes in the greatest good for the greatest number as well as a creative Wordsmith with interests in Management Training, Research, Content Development and Digital Marketing

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