By Musa Lawal
When the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, ignored Senate’s invitation the first time and sent his deputy, many thought he was busy with security issues. When he ignored the second time and went to Kaduna State, it was becoming clear that his action was a snub. On the third time, it dawned on all that it is a clear snub and a total disregard for the institution of the Senate.
The invitation was extended to him to explain the killings across Nigeria and the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Senator Dino Melaye.
The action of the IGP is the latest in the series of cases of disrespect for the constitution and democratic institution by top appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It would be recalled that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, at different times, also snubbed the Senate’s invitation, prompting public outrage in what has been regarded as disregard for ‘Section 88’ of the constitution which confers on the National Assembly, the power to summon a public official.
The deafening silence of Buhari and his refusal to wade into this consistent abuse of democracy by his appointees sends the signal that they are doing it with maximum support from the President. What more could have led to such disregard if not a presidential back up?
The IGP’s action didn’t come as a surprise, it only calls for serious concern which should worry anybody who means well for our democracy. Before serving the Senate a piece of his unruly attitude, Idris, in January, ignored Buhari’s order to relocate to Benue State following deadly attacks on villagers. It was after one month that Buhari expressed shock that the IGP flouted his order. Again, nothing was done, no action was taken by the President.
When the Presidency in a statement said Idris was summoned and queried by the President,. Idris in his usual arrogant and bragadoccio toga, debunked the claim and said he was never summoned, challenging officials to show evidence. For how long will Buhari continue to harbour such arrogance? Probably there’s more to the IGP’s act than meets the eye.
The act of the IGP and other appointees must not be allowed to continue, as it is already setting bad precedence for democracy, one that may take another decade to clean up and correct.
Buhari’s inaction in the face of all these appear to be a sign of weakness and support for the IGP. But one must do well to remind the President and his handlers that even if Idris is doing their bidding with his acts of continuous snub of the Senate in total disregard for the rule of law, one day it will get out of hand and may lead to a case of bush meat hunting the hunter.
Now that the Senate has exhausted all its options on the IGP, and only the President has the power to wade in, it’s now left to Buhari to prove doubters wrong that he is not in support of the IGP’s action which the Senate as described as dangerous to democracy.
The IGP latest action is a litmus test for the President and an avenue for him to prove to Nigerians that he’s not a weakling and a paper tiger who doesn’t have any authority on his appointees. We are watching Buhari to prove us wrong. Until he takes serious action, Buhari remains a weakling and a President without power to exercise authority over his appointees.
*Lawal is resident in Abuja.