The Senate, on Wednesday, said anarchy looms, ahead of the 2019 general elections. The Red Chamber contended that if the security agents are not called to order, they will derail the country’s democracy and put the lives of aspirants in danger in 2019.
The upper chamber urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on security agents to follow the rules of engagement and avoid taking sides with political parties.
The Senate spoke in reaction to the alleged withdrawal of security aides of the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris.
Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, moved a motion. Citing Order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules, Bwacha contended that security aides attached to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and other aspirants in 2019, maybe withdrawn.
He said such a move will expose the aspirants to danger. The Taraba born lawmaker, argued that the action of the IGP should be condemned.
“When I woke up this morning (yesterday), I read in the papers something that is very worrying. I read that the security aides of the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano had been withdrawn. The reason they gave in the report is that, they want to give every aspirant a level-playing field in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.
“I am not a member of the Governor’s political party. But I am a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I need to take a bipartisan approach. If we do not check this trend, in 2019, security aides of every aspirant will be withdrawn.
“It means the security aides of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be withdrawn. The Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives will also have his aides withdrawn. This is a dangerous sign for 2019. As a Senate, we need to take a position and condemn this. We need to call on the IGP to immediately reverse that decision,” he said.
Saraki did not accommodate any debates since Bwacha came under matter of personal explanation. Instead, he called on the Senate committee chairman on Police Affairs, Abu Ibrahim to “take note of the points raised by Bwacha.”
Not satisfied, another Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Senator Biodun Olujimi, citing Order 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, insisted that the issue should be debated.
She said if it is allowed to slide, it will become a norm in 2019 and aspirants, especially those in the opposition, will be the biggest casualties.
She said: “The issue of withdrawing security aides of a sitting governor in order to create a level playing field is worrisome. No matter what happens, a sitting governor is entitled to security protection. 2019 is very close by. We are approaching elections. This is a sign of things to come.
“It means many people, including the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of Nigeria will lose their security aides. That is the implication. This is uncalled for. It means somebody is not in charge. At every stage, somebody should be able to check his aides. The IGP has messed up. He needs to return the aides of the Governor and nothing like this should happen again.”
Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disagreed mildly. He said it was wrong to assume that the police IG acted on the instructions of a higher authority. He said since it has not happened since President Buhari came on board, it should be treated as an isolated case.
He said: “If something like that happened, that was an entirely police affairs matter. I support the position of the Senate that we should create a level playing field. I do not want any of us to think that this is a trend. This has not happened before. It happened serially in the past.”
Saraki, in his intervention, condemned the decision of the IGP. He also took sides with Ahmad. He said it should not be assumed that Mr. Idris was ordered to withdraw police orderlies of the Governor.
“This is to show that there is no intention to cover anything up. What is wrong is wrong. This should not be interpreted to mean that anybody in government gave the orders that this should happen,” Saraki said.
The Senate after a brief debate, mandated the IGP to reverse his decision and restore the withdrawn security aides of Governor Obiano. Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu moved the amendment motion.
Police committee was equally mandated to investigate and report back today, Thursday. It was also urged to ensure that the resolution of the Senate is carried out by the IGP.
By Ehisuan Odia…
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