The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has said he is ready to honour any lawful summon by the Nigeria Police or any other security agency.
In a statement Friday night, Mr. Tambuwal reacted to reports that the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, had given instruction for his arrest in connection with Thursday’s commotion at the National Assembly.
“The Honourable Speaker wishes to state that he is a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has no immunity against arrest and prosecution except privileges as may be provided by the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act,” Mr. Tambuwal said through a statement by his spokesperson.
“Accordingly , the Hon Speaker states for the records that he is available, ready and willing to answer any lawful invitation from any of the Security agencies on any matter for which they may require his attention.”
The confusion at the lawmaking complex, which saw the police firing teargas at lawmakers and lawmakers scaling fences, was triggered by the police themselves after they blocked members heading to the chamber for plenary.
The lower chamber had suspended its break to enable it consider President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for extension of the emergency rule in the three North-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – worst hit by the deadly Boko Haram insurgency.
Read Mr. Tambuwal’s full statement below.
The attention of the Hon Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal CFR, has been drawn to publications in the media to the effect that the Inspector General of Police has ordered that he, Speaker, be invited to the Force Headquarters and that he be arrested if he resisted.
The Honorable Speaker wishes to state that he is a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has no immunity against arrest and prosecution except privileges as may be provided by the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act.
Accordingly , the Hon Speaker states for the records that he is available, ready and willing to answer any lawful invitation from any of the Security agencies on any matter for which they may require his attention.
The Speaker expresses dismay at the unprofessional conduct of the Nigerian Police in the attempt to stop him from accessing the House of Representatives chambers on the 20th November 2014 to preside over the Special Session of the House on the State of Emergency Extension requested by Mr President, for which he had recalled members from their working recess.
Most disgraceful is the false statement later issued by the Police in which they claimed that in the lawful exercise of their duties “ Alh Aminu Tambuwal CFR, arrived the venue with a motley crowd,who broke the cordon, assaulted the Police and evaded due process”. This blatant falsehood coming from a law enforcement agency, that is expected to be neutral and lawful, is unfortunate, to say the least.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Hon Speaker came to National Assembly accompanied by Hon Members as is customary during any sitting of the House. They all came with their official vehicles but were disallowed from driving into the premises. Certainly Hon Members, who arrived the precinct of the National Assembly in response to a call to perform an urgent, critical national assignment, cannot be described by any self respecting institution as “a motley crowd “
It is important to remind the Nigeria Police Force that as a public institution that provides common services for all the arms of government, they must not allow themselves to be used by one of the arms to undermine the others.
Malam Imam Imam @imamdimam
Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Hon Speaker