Thursday, April 22, 2021

Seized budget document: IG visits Dogara, seeks soft landing


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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By Mustapha Usman

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has visited the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, following the lawmakers’ decision to summon the police chief over budget document seizure.

Sources said Mr Idris visited Mr Dogara’s residence around 7:30pm on Wednesday, and sought the Speaker’s intervention to settle the matter amicably.

The House of Representatives had earlier given Mr Idris 24 hours to return all documents relating to the 2017 Appropriation Bill taken away from Senator Danjuma Goje’s residence.

The House gave the order in reaction to the allegation that the documents were carted away when police raided Mr Goje’s residence.

The legislative order followed a motion at Wednesday plenary on the “need to check the excesses of security agents with regards to invasion of residences of law-abiding citizens”

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The House also resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to invite the IGP to appear before it and explain what warranted the alleged invasion and the laws which backed the police to carry out such operations.

The ad hoc committee is expected to submit its report within two weeks for further legislative action.

Debating the related motion, moved by Yunusa Ahmad (APC-Gombe), lawmakers who spoke on the matter said the budget report was scheduled to be laid before the Senate and House.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the budget report was for consideration and passage during the week.

The lawmakers expressed anger over the way the police and other security agencies “had been invading homes of private citizens under the guise of fighting corruption without recourse to due process”

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Leading the debate on the motion, Mr Ahmad said the invasion of Mr Goje’s residence amounted to gross violation of his fundamental human right.

Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu) accused the security agencies of attempting to come to the legislature.

“They have cowed the judiciary. Now they have proceeded to the legislature. We cannot allow that. We must call to question anything considered untoward.

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“Goje’s house was invaded, we don’t know the reason. This kind of whistle-blowing should be driven by intelligence,” he said.

Similarly, Sergius Ogun (PDP- Edo) said the House must put a stop to the undue harassment of innocent citizens by security agencies in the country.

“The police should not get away with it. If a senator can be so treated, what is the fate of the ordinary Nigerian? We must put a stop to it,” Mr Ogun added.

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However, Ahmed Musa (APC- Kaduna) who spoke against the motion, described the debate as “judgmental”.

Mr Musa said taking a stand on the alleged police invasion of Mr Goje’s residence without an investigation negated the principle of separation of powers and would subject the House to public ridicule.

“It is the duty of the executive arm of government to investigate perceived crimes, and asking the police to return documents was tantamount to asking them to return their exhibits,” he said.

The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by Mr Dogàra.

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