© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Reps Committee Sitting Deadlocked As IGP Refuses To Recognize Tambuwal as Speaker
By Adedayo Ogunleye, Abuja
The House of Representatives committee set up to enquire into the events that led to last week Thursday’s crisis at the National Assembly was deadlocked on Wednesday as the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Suleiman Abba, refused to acknowledge or address Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker of the House of Representative.
The House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs had summoned the police boss to the Assembly over the invasion of the National Assembly by armed policemen, which had led to teargas canisters being fired at the Speaker and other members.
The police boss had on Friday sent the Deputy Inspector General, DIG, Operations, Sotonye Wakama, to represent him but the Committee rejected his representation.
Abba eventually appeared before the Committee on Wednesday and referred to the Speaker of the House of Representative as ‘one Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal’, incurring the ire of the lawmakers present who demanded that the police boss retract his statement and address the Speaker appropriately.
“Some of the principal officers complied until when Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, at the first gate, came with quite a number of suspected thugs. So the second gate was closed and security reinforced,” he had stated in his presentation.
At this point, some members of the committee, including Akeem Muniru, Chris Etta, Victor Nwokolo, objected, moving that the meeting be adjourned until the IGP was ready to retract that statement, but the chairman of the committee, Usman Kumo, called for calm.
Muniru, objecting to Abba’s stance on the status of the Speaker, insisted that “the IGP must retract his statement calling the Speaker, ‘Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal’ or I take my leave, as I would deem this sitting an illegal one.”
“I can’t participate in a hearing where the office of the Speaker, through whose authority we are having this meeting, is not recognized by an appointee of the executive.”
Another member of the House of Representative, Chachangi Rufai Ahmed, remarked that he would also call the IGP “mister”, if the IGP chose not to recognize and address the Speaker appropriately.
The chairman of the committee attempted to put the issue in perspective and calm the aroused lawmakers.
“I believe the IGP does not mean he does not recognise the institution of National Assembly. Mr.IGP, simple question that triggered this hullabaloo is about the statement as perceived by members which you can correct or which you can assert; whether the Speaker is Aminu Tambuwal as it is today or not.”
The IGP remained adamant, refusing to retract his statement.
“Mr. Chairman and esteemed members, I think it would be subjudice for me to comment on a matter before the court. Thank you.”
This development led to an impasse and the session came to a sudden end as members angrily stood up after adjourning the meeting.
Abba left without the traditional courtesy of the chairman seeing him off as the lawmakers present insisted Kumo should not oblige him with the courtesy.