Senate rejects Melaye’s request for names, service numbers of 30, 000 police officers deployed to Ekiti
A request by Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District at the National Assembly, for background details of the 30, 000 police officers deployed for the Ekiti governorship election was turned down by his colleagues who voted against it.
Melaye, Wednesday, on the floor of the Senate moved a motion that the Senate should compel the Nigerian Police to provide background details of all the 30,000 officers reportedly sent to Ekiti State on Sunday ahead of July 14 governorship election in the state.
According to Premium Times, Melaye wondered why such huge number of police officers were deployed to a state with just 16 local government areas while there are many places across the country in dire need of protection against incessant attacks by gunmen.
“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.
But he didn’t finish his motion when Francis Alimikhena, senator representing Edo North, cut in and asked Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President who was the presiding officer to order Melaye to go back to his seat. Ekweremadu, however, allowed Melaye to continue talking.
“I wonder why the crises in Zamfara, Chibok, Taraba, Benue have not attracted 30, 000 policemen, where Nigerians have been consistently killed,” Melaye said.
As he continued to speak, Oluremi Tinubu, senator representing Lagos Central also interrupted him, citing order 11, which she asked Ekweremadu to return 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.
Ekweremadu also rejected her objection.
“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,” 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 the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate were under siege by policemen.
The senator also reported to his colleagues that he had been denied of security since the start of his ordeal with the Nigerian Police.
“I want to announce also to the Senate that while we ask that Nigerians be defended, we also ask that we be defended. I announced that the police withdrew policemen attached to me even before I was arrested. Till date Mr President, I have no single security. I applied to the Civil Defence two months ago, Civil Defence again have been instructed not to provide me with security. As a citizen, not even as a senator, Mr President by his oath of office is to protect me.”
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 who represents Zamfara.
Marafa said requesting for details of officers is 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 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.
The matter was first discussed in the Senate on Tuesday when Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President and Ibn Na’Allah, Deputy Majority Leader questioned the deployment on the ground that such number of police officers were not sent to places under attacks across the country.