By Rotimi Ojomoyela
The Senate yesterday rejected a motion to request details of the 30, 000 police officers deployed for the Ekiti governorship election.
On Sunday, the police authorities said it had drafted 30, 000 officers to provide security in the election slated for Saturday.
The matter was first raised at the Senate on Tuesday when the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Deputy Majority Leader, Ibn Na’Allah, questioned the deployment on the ground that there are no deployments to places under attacks across the country.
Yesterday, Dino Melaye (Kogi West), asked his colleagues to request for the names, service numbers and details of the officers deployed for the election.
“As a Nigerian, I am appalled that Nigeria Police can provide 30, 00 policemen for a 16-local government state. Then, one begins to wonder that to conduct a presidential election, you will need 30, 000 policemen times 36 state plus the FCT.
‘’It means we will need 11 million plus policemen. The implication is that we will have to go to other West African states to hire policemen,” he said.
He was cut short by Francis Alimikhena, who asked the presiding officer, Ike Ekweremadu, to cause Mr Melaye to go back to the seat allocated to him. He was ruled out of order.
Mr Melaye continued: “I wonder why the crises in Zamfara, Chibok, Taraba, Benue, where the life of Nigerians have been consistently killed, have not attracted 30, 000 policemen.”
He was again interrupted by Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) who, citing order 11, asked Mr Ekweremadu to return Mr Melaye to his seat.
“A senator may only speak from the seat allotted to him provided that the President of the Senate may change the allocation from time to time,” she read.
She was also ruled out of order by Mr Ekweremadu
“The President of the Senate allowed him to sit in that place in the presence of every senator, so, I respectfully ruled you out of order,” Mr Ekweremadu said.
Melaye again continued: “Election is very important but not as important as the lives of Nigerians as enshrined in the Constitution. We will not as senators allow democracy to turn to militocracy.”
He said the Government House in Ekiti and campaign office of PDP candidate were under siege by policemen.
The senator also reported to his colleagues that he had been denied security since the start of his ordeal with the Nigeria Police by both the Police and Civil Defence Corps.
In his prayers, he asked that “the police furnish the Senate with the names, police service number of 30, 000 policemen in Ekiti, including where they are deployed from and deployed to.”
He also wanted ‘the Senate to ask the police and Civil Defence to provide security’ for him. His first prayer was countered by Kabir Marafa (Zamfara-APC) who said requesting for details of officers was not a matter within the Senate’s jurisdiction.
“I don’t think we can reduce this chamber to doing police work because what Dino Melaye requested for is entirely the business of the police. From the time we start asking the Police to give us names and numbers of policemen they post to carry out certain responsibilities, I think we have reduced this chamber to the lowest, barest minimum, therefore, I oppose this prayer.”
After two voice votes, the lawmakers rejected the prayer to request details of officers in Ekiti while endorsing the call to allow Dino Melaye access security.