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IGP Idris vs Nigerian senate: Where lawmakers got it wrong – Falana

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Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has said the senate lacks the power to summon the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said the senate, “did not get it right” by tagging Idris “an enemy of democracy.”

Recall that the police boss had refused to honour senate’s invitation over wanton killings across the country, on three different occasions.

Against this backdrop, the Upper Legislative Chamber yesterday declared Idris as an enemy of democracy and unfit to hold any public office.

Reacting, the Police boss said he owes the senate no apology for snubbing them thrice.

However, featuring on Channels Television Programme, Sunrise Daily, the activist lawyer said the IGP was not the right person to be summoned on killings in some states.

Falana stressed that the Minister of interior and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Malami should have been invited.

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.

“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.”

Falana, who condemned the arraignment of Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye on a stretcher, stressed that lawmakers should not “individualise problems of police brutality.”

He added, “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?

“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.”

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