BY AHURAKA ISAH AND SOLOMON ATADO, ABUJA
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr. Ibrahim K. Idris yesterday declared that he cannot appear before the senate ad-hoc committee investigating various allegations levelled against him and the Police Service Commission by Senator Isa Hamma Misau (APC Bauchi Central), saying the matter was already in court.
Idris was expected to appear before the committee chaired by the Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Francis Alimekhena to defend himself of all the allegations, but failed to show up, explaining that it would be subjudice to do so.
The police chief, in a letter sent to the committee through his lawyer, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), informed it that he had already filed a suit at the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Abuja to enforce his fundamental right by asking the senate to stand down its investigation on the matter.
In the letter, titled, “Re: An invitation to appear before the senate ad hoc committee on the allegations of corruption levelled against you by Senator Isah H. Misau”, the Inspector General said the ad hoc committee cannot and should not proceed with the said investigation for some obvious reasons, including the fact that “there are two criminal charges pending before both the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja”.
He stated that “the Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Senator Isah Hammed Misau charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/I 70/2017. 771129 criminal case has been slated for 7th November, 2017”.
Idris added that the case with charge No. CR/345/I7 has commenced and that the defendant was arraigned and the matter adjourned to 29th of November, 2017 for trial.
According to him, there was no need for the senate to set up the committee to investigate him due to the allegations made by one Senator lsah H. Misau to the Senate, “because we venture to bring to your kind notice facts which will make it imperative for your adhoc committee to stand down the said investigation for now or put it in complete abeyance.”
“One does not need a star gazer to see that the gamut of these allegations are sub-judice and for trial before the High Court of Justice Federal Capital Territory which constitutionally under Section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) is vested with such adjudicatory power in the circumstances”, he stated.
Idris added: “There is no doubt again that this has knocked off the entire 6 items or any other compliant for investigation in the said matter. It is prudential to allow the Court vested with the power to determine these issues. Any attempt to over reach the court on the subject matter will be a negation of the doctrine of separation of powers and the rule of law. It is just sub-judice”.
The Inspector General, however, said he held the distinguished chairman and members of the committee in the highest regard in the discharge of its constitutional duties under the constitution.
The letter further reads: “Our client has informed us that upon the receipt of your letter reference above. He wrote to the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for advice as the Chief Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to whom our client is under his control. A copy of the said letter with your letter attached is annex hereto as Annexure ‘E’. Our client is yet to receive the reply from the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation.
“Without prejudice to the forgoing, we feel strongly that the committee in the light of these various cases outlined above should put the matter in abeyance to allow the resolution of these by the courts and as pointed out these are all subjudice. Your rules recognises this too. It is instructive to draw your attention to numerous legal propositions that have settled this issue by the Superior Courts”.
Meanwhile, the committee had during its sitting vowed to invoke section 89(c) of the constitution by ordering the arrest of the Inspector General of Police, if he fails to appear before it on Tuesday next week.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC Edo North) had expressed bitterness over the conspicuous absence of the Inspector General of Police at its public hearing yesterday.
Addressing Senate Correspondents after about an hour waiting in vain for the arrival of the Police top officials at the public hearing, Alimikhena who doubles as Senate Deputy Majority Whip said although the committee received correspondence from the Inspector General of Police informing it that he has gone to court to challenge Senate invitation, said the court would not stop parliament from exercising its constitutional role.
According to him, most of the allegations that were leveled against the IGP include virement which is a constitutional responsibility of parliament and that virement was not part of what the Police went to court to defend. He added that “this committee was constituted before the IG went to court.”
He added that “the court case will not deter our committee because following the principles of separation of powers, no court can stop our committee by section 89(C) of the constitution we are still going to invite the IG to appear before us to answer specific questions like virement of 2017, 2016 appropriation act.”
Senator Alimekhena argued that it was within the purview of the parliament to carry out oversight functions on the allegation raised by Sen. Isa Misau and as such directed the IGP to appear before the committee on Tuesday next week.
He however warned that should Idris fail to appear before it on Tuesday next week, the committee would be compelled to issue warrant of arrest on him, adding if he fails, “we will be forced to invoke section 89(C) of the constitution.”
It would be recalled that the Senate had at its plenary on October 4, 2017 set up a seven-man adhoc committee to investigate allegations of corruption, nepotism, and misuse of office against the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The resolution to set up the committee followed a point of order raised by Senator Isa Hamman Misau (Bauchi central).
In his motion the lawmaker accused the IGP of diverting funds meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers APCs) to purchase luxury vehicles, and creating illegal units under his office and manned by his boys to undermine the offices of the Inspectors General of Police (IGP), among others.
Misau who has been having face-offs with Mr Idris since August, also told the senate that the Inspector-General of Police, has been extorting money, ranging from N10million to N15million, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units (SPU) Commanders, for favourable postings among others.
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