The Nigerian Senate recently declared the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum, ‘an enemy of democracy’ over the latter’s refusal to honour its invitation. The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is not a little disturbed by Senate’s attitude in recent times. It is combative, reckless and lawless.
What, in Allah’s name, do we call the list of violent killings in the country which was allegedly published yesterday by Senate? It is nauseating and that is, to say the least. Is Senate making a case of inefficiency against the IG?
Has Senate forgotten that no country is free of crime? Is Senate unaware of horror killings and massacres even in advanced countries like the United States of America, Germany and Britain?
Senate could have done better if it had balanced it objectively by supplying a list of achievements of the Nigerian Police. What if the police now decide to draw its own list of achievements?
Nigerians will then have two public agencies working at cross-purposes courtesy of an overbearing Senate. Is that responsible? Is it wise? Is it patriotic? Does it portray Senate members as a serious bunch?
Let us jog Senate’s memory with a few achievements of the Nigerian Police in recent times. The arrest of big-time criminals like Evans the kidnap kingpin; the Offa dare-devil armed robbers who killed 17 people in a single operation; Ibrahim Umar who confessed that he used to drink the blood of kidnapped victims and Niger State kidnap specialist Matarari Saidu.
On Monday, May 14, Police nabbed Barau Ibrahim a.k.a. Rambo touted to be one of the most wanted kidnappers, who also dabbles into armed robbery and assassination. Rambo was notorious for terrorising Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway and Zamfara State.
But what do the Police get from Senate for all these? Disdain, humiliation, intimidation and even more. How do you expect the citizens to respect the Police and repose confidence in them if you, our lawmakers, treat them like errand boys?
Even if we did not see all the above achievements of the police, at least one case was reported by MURIC headquarters in 2017 and we still marvel at the speed with which the police handled the matter. A luxurious bus in which a female Youth Corps member and member of MURIC, serving in the North, was ordered to stop by hoodlums between Abuja and Kogi states.
The driver was shot dead for refusing to stop. The spare driver took over the wheels and was able to park safely at a distance. The occupants spilt into the bush and from there, our member put a call to us at 12 midnight. We called a commissioner of police who requested for the corper’s number.
Within 30 minutes, police had surrounded the location and we soon received a call from the Abuja Police Commissioner who assured us that the corper was now safe in a police van.
The Nigerian Police is a reliable police force. Give them modern weapons, vehicles, communication gadgets, a good salary, a motivative welfare package and they will perform wonders. The Nigerian Police which has just a little over 317,000 men is protecting more than 193 million Nigerians when global the best practice is one policeman to every 500 civilians.
Some of them buy their own shoes and uniforms. They are poorly equipped, overwhelmed, overworked but underpaid. At least they do not enjoy the luxury of taking home N13.5 million every month (or is it really N29 million?).
Senate should be promoting the interest of policemen if indeed our senators know their duties. They should fight for police welfare. Every Egyptian policeman had a pistol and a walkie-talkie even as far back as 1975 whereas it is a whole police station that manages a single walkie-talkie in the Nigeria of 2018.
This is a big shame but our lawmakers care less. Yet it is the same policemen they want to ridicule who are guarding them day and night. Can’t our lawmakers be grateful for once?
Senate should leave the IG of police alone. Let the man concentrate on his job. Respect begets respect but Senate has no modicum of respect for other arms of government. What happened to the principle of separation of powers? Senate appears to be harbouring overambitious elements in the red chamber.
MURIC gives kudos to the IG of police for resisting Senate’s impetuous manoeuvres. He has proved that he is a seasoned professional. Nigeria needs men like him who will not start shivering because lawmakers are barking orders at them.
It is true that uniformed men should submit to civilian authority in a democracy but that is when the civilian authority issues legitimate orders. Our uniformed men should always resist ego-induced, illegitimate and unlawful directives.
This Senate is in the habit of intimidating public figures with its irrational invitations. Yet some of those invitations are not in the interest of the tax-payer. Customs’ boss Ahmadu Ali was similarly harassed.
He attended Senate but was ordered to appear in customs uniform which he rightly challenged and to date Senate has not been able to do anything about it. Of what benefit was Senate’s order to the hoi polloi?
All these boil down to the fact that Senate does not know its limits. Senate is overreaching its powers. The red chamber is overbearing, arrogant. Nigerians are witnessing parliamentary tyranny. It is nothing short of the dictatorship of an oligarchy.
Instead of facing its work squarely, Senate is obstructing the executive arm of government. About seven months after receiving the budget, Senate is yet to pass it.
Is the red chamber just a place for taking naps? With all sense of responsibility, we fully endorse Professor Sagay’s description of Senate as the worst in the history of Nigeria.
If members of Senate are not on jolly rides to the tribunal for a hocus pocus, they are in the National Hospital, Abuja, for a comedy. Is this why we voted for you? Is this how you are representing us?
Who did this to Nigeria? Who gave us court jesters? If we had known, we would have gone to Nollywood to pick the best actors and actresses as our lawmakers. At least then we would know what to expect.
To add salt to injury, our senators acted scene V of the Mother of All Mockeries when the Senate President donned his stethoscope to dramatise a checkup of Senator Dino Milaye on the hospital bed. Is Saraki telling us that the doctors attending to Dino Melaye are unqualified or inexperienced?
Our humble suggestion is that Saraki should move to the National Hospital, Abuja, to take over the duties of the Chief Medical Officer in order to personally attend to his anointed senator with whom he is well pleased. Senate has been turned into a huge theatre where the senate president is the major dramatis personae.
To cut a long story short, Senate should leave the IG alone, stop playing the enfant terrible with the executive arm, desist from obstructing the cause of justice, migrate from Nollywood and face its real duty of legislating.
By Prof. Ishaq Akintola, Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
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