MUSA BABA AHMED, Abuja
*Says suspected thugs scaled the fence
The face-off between the executive arm and the legislature, especially the House of Representatives may be far from being over following the insistence of the Inspector General of Police, Abba Sulaiman that he does not recognize Hon. AminuWaziriTambuwal as the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives.
The IGP who appeared before the House Committee on Police Affairs on Wednesday stated that the argument as to whether Hon. Tambuwal is still the House Speaker or not is before the court, and as such he could not comment on it.
The intrigue began when the Police Chief referred to the Speaker as “AlhajiAminuTambuwal”, to the exasperation of lawmakers who insisted he must retract the statement and address the office of the Speaker properly.
Hear him: “in the process of safeguarding the security of the National Assembly on the 20th of November, we collaborated with the National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arm according to laid down procedures where members were being asked to identify themselves before they could be allowed into the premises”.
“And at the gate there, a tear gas exploded when ‘AlhajiAminuTambuwal’ was being asked to identify himself. We still don’t know the circumstances surrounding the explosion and we are investigating it”, Mr. Abba said.
He stressed further, saying that he acted based on credible information to deploy his men to the NASS on the said day, adding that the action was also due to what happened on the 19th when Rivers State governor RotimiAmeachi and other APC supporters besieged the Force Headquarters and promising to do worse things the following day; including going to the National Assembly.
The IGP insisted that there were reports that those who scaled the fence on that day were thugs who came with some of the lawmakers.
On whether the alleged the so-called thugs include the lawmakers who resorted to scaling the fence after being locked out by the Police, he said that actions that were taken were based on the need to forestall breakdown of law and order as witnessed recently in Bukinafaso.
“We acted on credible information about suspected thugs who wanted to invade the Assembly, and because we didn’t want what happened in Bukinafaso to repeat itself here, we had to take stringent security measures”, the IGP said.
Lawmakers were however furious on the manner in which the Police Chief addressed the person of the Speaker as a mere Alhaji whose name has no protocol and national significance whatsoever.
In his reaction, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. UsmanKumo called to IGP to order insisting that the Speaker and his office must be respected and addressed accordingly.
Seeing that the IGP was intractable, Hon. Hakeem Muniru (APC Lagos), demanded that “the IGP must retract his statement calling the Speaker, ‘AlhajiAminuTambuwal’ or I take my leave as I would deem this seating as an illegal one. Because I can’t participate in a hearing where the office of the Speaker through whose authority we are having this meeting is not even recognised by an appointee of the Executive”.
Hon. Victor Nwokolo (PDP Delta) said: “I agree with the earlier speaker on the issues at stake which has to do with the IGP retracting his disrespectful statement about the office of the Speaker”.
The Chairman of the Committee having failed to obtain compliance from the IGP told his colleagues that he would report back to the House what transpired and therefore adjourned the hearing until further notice.