By Soni Daniel, Kingsley Omonobi, Emma Ovuakporie, Dapo Akinrefon & Gbenga Oke
ABUJA—BARELY 48 hours after the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the acting Inspector General of Police, Sulaiman Abba, yesterday, withdrew all his security aides.
The Federal Government also deleted Tambuwal’s picture and name from the official website of the National Assembly:http://www.nassng.org/nass, leaving his space blank for now.
With the deletion of his details from the web page, only the data and photographs of nine principal officers of the House of Representatives are running, with Emeka Ihedioha, the deputy speaker, being the highest-ranking officer on the page.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the Aide-de-Camp, ADC, to the Speaker got a directive from IGP Abba, at about 1.30am yesterday that all security operatives attached to the number 4 citizen be withdrawn immediately.
One of the sources, who was privy to what happened in the dead of the night when the order was given said: ”Our Oga ADC immediately started demobilising all the security operatives attached to Tambuwal, including men from the Department of State Service, DSS and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
”As a result of the IGP’s order, the ADC, who was billed for an official assignment in Makurdi yesterday morning had to cancel all his appointments as everything including dogs were demobilised from here. We were left bare as early as 1.30am to all manner of dangers but God is our Oga’s best security and his life is in His hands, not that of men”.
Why we withdrew Tambuwal police aides –Police IG
The IGP’s order, according to a statement by the Force Spokesman, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, an Acting Commissioner of Police, was because of Tambuwal’s defection from the PDP to APC and “having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
Meanwhile, the IG said the force had committed adequate resources to the provision of logistics to effectively police the 2015 generation elections.
Ojukwu, in another statement, said Abba gave the assurance when the “ECOWAS Pre-Election Fact Finding Head of Mission to Nigeria’’ headed by former Ghananian President, John Kufuor paid him a courtesy visit to appraise the police readiness for a violent-free poll in 2015.
Your order, action are wrong, Tambuwal tells IGP
Reacting to the issue, Speaker Tambuwal told the acting IGP, Sulaiman Abba that he breached the law by ordering that his security details be withdrawn from his residence.
In a statement by his media aide, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said he received with shock and amazement the statement issued by the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters justifying the withdrawal of police security personnel attached to him.
His words: “In the said statement, the Force has stated to the effect that by his defection from the PDP to the APC, the Hon Speaker is in breach of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution and is consequently no longer entitled to police security. Nothing can be further from the truth.
”The implication of the Inspector General of Police’s statement is that as sanction for this alleged constitutional breach, he has removed Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from office of Speaker House of Representatives.
”For the avoidance of doubt the question of whether or not there is a division or faction in the PDP has been resolved by Lord Justice Faji of the Ilorin Division of Federal High Court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/605/2013 in which the court held that indeed there were factions in the PDP.
”Again in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/ 605/2013, the Sokoto Division of the Federal High Court per Justice Aikawaa, the judgement of the court was that there was not only Division but faction in the PDP which later merged with the APC.
“As the number four citizen in the hierarchy of protocol in the country, the Speaker is entitled to security protection by the security agencies, therefore we see the action of the Acting Inspector General of Police as not only contempt of the courts but a ploy to bring harm to the person of Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
”In any case even Section 215 of the 1999 Constitution does not contemplate the issuing of or compliance with unlawful orders by the President and or the Inspector General of Police respectively.
“What the Acting Inspector General of Police has done therefore has no basis in law including the 1999 Constitution which he has cited. It is a brazen act of crass impunity, gross constitutional breach and contempt of court. The Inspector General should desist from assuming or usurping the constitutional functions of the Judiciary.
“For the avoidance of doubt the Speaker of the House is elected by members from among themselves under Section 50(1) (b) of the constitution and vacates office under Section 50 (2) (a) (b) &(c), in the case of (c) by two-thirds majority of members of the House.
“The Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution which refers to a member vacating his seat on grounds of defection, which the Inspector General of Police refers to, has a proviso which has been and still is a matter for judicial and not police interpretation.”
Eminent Nigerians flay IGP’s action
The police action elicited criticisms from a host of eminent Nigerians and APC members of the House of Representatives, who described it as undemocratic and feared for Tambuwal’s safety.
We’re playing Third World immature politics —Sagay
Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), described the development as immature politics.
“It is not legal at all because he is still speaker till it is determined by law. All we are seeing is just Third World immature politics. People don’t know the difference between the law and what they have the right to do. Reactions to everything is always physical and with power rather than in accordance with the law. It is a pure third world reaction,” he said.
Tambuwal is entitled to security details—Afenifere
On its part, the Pan-Yoruba socio-economic and political organisation, Afenifere, argued that Tambuwal should be allowed to have security details as long as he remains the speaker of the House.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, said: “I do not know the reasons it was done but I believe that if there are things he is still entitled to, for as long as he is still the Speaker, he should be allowed to have them. If he is entitled to security details for as long as he is still the speaker. I think he should be allowed to have them until he leaves the office.”
It’s unfortunate —Arewa Youths
National President of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima expressed displeasure over the withdrawal of the speaker’s security aides.
Shetima said: “This is bound to happen because one man is made to be a tin god against the collective wish of Nigerians. I am against it because Tambuwal remains the Speaker of the House of Representatives until the House decides his fate. The President has no right do such a thing because the Speaker changed party”.
It is incredulous— Gbajabiamila
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), warned that nothing should happen to the life of the Speaker.
“If you know the Speaker very well, you will know he cares very little about the perquisites of office. However this is beyond the Speaker. It’s about the institution of the legislature. I am yet to confirm the authenticity of the story because it seems incredulous. However, if it is true, then even the most sympathetic supporter of this government of which there are just a miserable misguided few, must realise that it is time to come together as a nation to save our country from a desperate cabal and a government that has unleashed terror on another separate but equal arm of government while allowing insurgents to run amok in the country without a clue as to what to do.
“The Nigerian Police Force does not belong to the PDP. More importantly, the executive cannot determine for the legislature, an independent institution and an arm of government, who should head it or who its speaker should be. This is the height of impunity,” he said.
It’s an act of desperation—Osagie
in like manner, the Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon Samson Osagie (APC, Edo), described the action as an act of desperation and despondency.
He said: “It’s surprising that the Nigerian Police Force has admitted that the Speaker’s security details were withdrawn on account of his defection to APC. It smacks of crass ignorance of the Constitution and parliamentary convention on the part of the Nigerian Police to declare that our own Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal the Peoples Speaker has ceased to be Speaker.
“It is an act of desperation and despondency for the ruling party.”