EMBATTLED Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal says he’s not disturbed one bit, by reports that the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Suleiman Abba has ordered his arrest.
Opening up on the alleged police threat to arrest him for interrogation over the clash of security agents and some members of the House of Representatives on Thursday, November 20, 2014, Tambuwal who recently decamped from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) challenged the IG to do his worst.
The Speaker also blamed the police for the embarrassing incident that prompted lawmakers to scale the locked gates of the National Assembly to attend to their legislative functions, while cautioning security agents to be neutral at all times.
“The attention of the Hon Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, has been drawn to publications in the media to the effect that the Inspector General of Police has ordered that he, Speaker, be invited to the Force Headquarters and that he be arrested if he resisted.
“The Honorable Speaker wishes to state that he is a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has no immunity against arrest and prosecution except privileges as may be provided by the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act.
“Accordingly, the Hon. Speaker states for the records that he is available, ready and willing to answer any lawful invitation from any of the Security agencies on any matter for which they may require his attention.
“The Speaker expresses dismay at the unprofessional conduct of the Nigerian Police in the attempt to stop him from accessing the House of Representatives chambers on the November 20, 2014 to preside over the Special Session of the House on the State of Emergency Extension requested by Mr. President, for which he had recalled members from their working recess.
“Most disgraceful is the false statement later issued by the Police in which they claimed that in the lawful exercise of their duties, ‘Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, CFR, arrived the venue with a motley crowd, who broke the cordon, assaulted the Police and evaded due process.’ This blatant falsehood coming from a law enforcement agency, that is expected to be neutral and lawful, is unfortunate, to say the least.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Hon. Speaker came to National Assembly accompanied by Hon Members as is customary during any sitting of the House. They all came with their official vehicles but were disallowed from driving into the premises. Certainly Hon Members, who arrived the precinct of the National Assembly in response to a call to perform an urgent, critical national assignment, cannot be described by any self respecting institution as ‘a motley crowd.’
“It is important to remind the Nigeria Police Force that as a public institution that provides common services for all the arms of government, they must not allow themselves to be used by one of the arms to undermine the others,” the Speaker stated through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Hon. Speaker, Mr. Imam Imam.
But in a swift reaction the Police have denied threatening Tambuwal with arrest.
“There’s nothing like that,” Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu said in response to ENCOMIUM Weekly’s inquiry on Saturday, November 22, 2014. He also issued a statement that same day, denying that the IG had ordered the arrest of the Speaker.
“It lies with the investigating police officers to determine who to invite, quiz and prosecute as the case may be.”
A statement that aimed at exonerating the IG from the plot to further humiliate the Speaker, the IG had earlier withdrawn Tambuwal’s security, claiming he is no longer the Speaker following his defection to APC.
In the light of recent developments, ENCOMIUM Weekly learnt there is indeed a plan to intimidate Tambuwal who still enjoys the support of the majority of members of the House, irrespective of party affiliation.
The National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki has also clarified there is no need for Tambuwal’s arrest or interrogation.
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on Saturday, November 22, 2014, denied issuing any directive for Tambuwal’s arrest. Director, Special Duties, retired Colonel Bello Fadile, who disclosed this at a meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo and Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, described the reports as total falsehood.
“It is not only untrue and mere fabricated reports that the NSA met with the VP and ordered the arrest of Hon. Tambuwal. The fact is that the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has been outside the country since Wednesday on pressing national security issues.”
The House which convened on Thursday, we were reliably informed, had a plan B, besides deliberating on the President’s request for extension of Emergency rule in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, the North East states under the siege of insurgents. Those in the know said the House was to reconvene with the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha presiding. The Speaker (Tambuwal) and most of the lawmakers loyal to him were to be shut out of the House Chambers, having purportedly lost his seat by virtue of his defection according to the Nigerian Constitution. But the Speaker and his supporters outsmarted the Police and PDP strategists behind the plot.
“Published reports have corroborated what we know: That the plan on Thursday was to prevent Tambuwal from entering the National Assembly to pave the way for his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, who had already been allowed into the House, to preside over the removal of the Speaker. Were it not so, why would the police even try to seize the mace from the Sergeant-at-arms, as reported? Why would the police detain the Sergeant-at-arms for his refusal? What is the business of the police with the mace, which is the House’s symbol of authority?
“It has also now been corroborated that the plan hatched by the PDP and the Presidency was to give Tambuwal the ‘Ekiti treatment,’ in which seven PDP members removed the Speaker in a 26-member House of Assembly. But for the quick thinking and action by the Honorable members who scaled the gate to access the Assembly, that plan would have succeeded and Tambuwal would have been removed as Speaker, the consequences of which no one would have been able to foretell.
“Therefore, instead of pillorying those who scaled the gate, we should be commending them for risking their lives to save our democracy. Those who shut the gate against the lawmakers and barred them from carrying out their constitutional duties are the villains, not the honorable members who acted in the nation’s interest…the ceaseless hounding of Tambuwal by the President and the PDP is patently provocative, to say the least, and calls into question the stated commitment of the Jonathan administration to the rule of law,” APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed said in a release pointing fingers at the PDP and the Presidency.
The Thursday (November 20) fracas has been roundly condemned by stakeholders who view it as a mockery of democracy. Not a few also frowned at the police using tear gas on lawmakers and their aides.