The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has advised the National Assembly to amend the relevant sections of the Constitution and the Police Act to minimize the chances of an Inspector General of Police becoming an impediment to the smooth administration of constitutional democracy.
It pointed out that the extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution which concedes overwhelming powers of dismissal to “the near- rubber stamped National Police Council and the indirect total control of such disciplinary powers on the discretion of the President” is the reason the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has consistently disrespected the lawful invitations of the Senate.
While stressing that the disrespectful tendencies of the IGP constitutes a grave threat to national security, the rights group alleged that Idris has constituted himself into an autonomous government of itself and the President seems to be using him or keeping him for some game plan.
HURIWA, in a statement issued yesterday by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said “it was an egregious and very fundamental error of judgment by the original framers of the extant constitution to have made a provision for the National Police Council that ab initio can only operate at the whims and caprices of the Executive arm of government without any forms of legislative or judicial safeguards in matters of gross professional indiscipline that the holder of the office of Inspector General of Police may have been indicted”.
While throwing its weight behind the decision of the National Assembly to soon declare Idris as a persona non grata, it stated that “the unambiguous misconduct and direct threats to constitutional democracy which is the best way to classify the failure of the current Inspector General of Police to obey summons should compel the National Assembly to as a matter of national emergency convoke a speedy constitutional amendment measures to broaden the scope of membership of the National police council to include representatives of the judiciary, Civil society and the legislature and to further subject the final powers to hire or fire the Inspector General of Police to the prerogative of the National Assembly through an impeachment process similar but not as technically tough as the provisions on the impeachment or removal of the President.”
HURIWA maintained that “the clear disrespect of the National Assembly by the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris is not to be taken lightly since that is a direct invitation to the military to overthrow the government since the Executive and legislative Arms of government can’t seem to control the holder of the office of the Inspector General of Police just as the Rights group stated that this calls for urgent and comprehensive move to legislate a DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY bringing into effect the immediate abrogation of the part of the Constitution on the National Police Council to bring the office of the Inspector General of Police under the authority of the parliamentary institution in the area of the powers to legislate his compulsory retirement through a two third majority votes in both chambers of the National Assembly.
“Under the extant constitution the President can only remove the Inspector General of Police after consultation with the National Police Council which has membership drawn largely from the Executive arm of government. Article 27 of part 11 of the Supplementary and interpretative schedule of the Constitution, the Nigeria Police Council is to be composed of the President as Chairman, the governors, the Chairman of the Police Service commission; the Inspector General of Police. This provision is unrealistic because how do you make a man a member of a body that ought to discipline him? The National Assembly must stop complaining and whining like school children but should invoke their powers of alteration of the Constitution in accordance with section 9 of the Nigerian Constitution.”
HURIWA has also called on the National Assembly to withhold the passage of the budgetary provisions meant for the Police until such a time that the National Police Council shall be convoked to dismiss the current Inspector General of Police