The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has expressed “shock and amazement” at the explanation given by the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, for the withdrawal of Mr. Tambuwal’s security detail.
Police aides attached to the speaker were withdrawn Thursday, a day after he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
In the statement by its spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, on Thursday, the police said the IGP acted because Mr. Tambuwal’s defection to the opposition party breached Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution and was therefore no longer entitled to police security.
Reacting to the statement, Mr. Tambuwal said the police explanation was far from the truth.
“The implication of the inspector general of police’s statement is that as sanction for this alleged constitutional breach, he has removed Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from office of Speaker House of Representatives,” the statement by the speaker’s media aide, Imam Imam, on Thursday, said.
The statement said the question of whether or not there was a division or faction in the PDP had been resolved by Justice Faji of the Ilorin Division of Federal High Court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/605/2013, in which the court held that indeed there were factions in the PDP.
The statement also recounted that in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/ 605/2013, the Sokoto Division of the Federal High Court per Justice Aikawa, the judgment of the court was that there was not only division but faction in the PDP, which later merged with the APC.
“As the number four citizen in the hierarchy of protocol in the country, the Speaker is entitled to security protection by the security agencies, therefore we see the action of the Acting Inspector General of Police as not only contempt of the courts but a ploy to bring harm to the person of Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal,” Mr. Imam said.
“We are on authority that nothing in the 1999 Constitution or the Police Act confers on the police force adjudicatory powers including the interpretation of the constitution. In any case even Section 215 of the 1999 Constitution does not contemplate the issuing of or compliance with unlawful orders by the President and or the Inspector General of Police respectively.”
Mr. Tambuwal argued that what the police chief did had no basis in law including the 1999 Constitution which he cited.
“It is a brazen act of crass impunity, gross constitutional breach and contempt of court. The Inspector General should desist from assuming or usurping the constitutional functions of the Judiciary,” the speaker said.
The speaker argued that Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution, which deals with a member vacating his seat on grounds of defection and which the Mr. Abba referred to, has a proviso which has been and still is a matter for judicial and not police interpretation.
“We have faith and confidence in our judiciary and are persuaded that it cannot by stampeded into administering injustice,” the statement said.