This week, news reports had it that the residences of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu were barricaded by the police in concert with other security agencies.
This was sequel to plans by certain members of the National Assembly, who wanted to defect from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC to other political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The plan according to reports was to keep the presiding officers at home so that they will not be able to preside over the defections. For the senate to sit, either of the two officers must preside, otherwise the chamber must elect a protem president. And in the kind of politics we play that may be far-fetched.
This blockade is coming at a time the police hierarchy is having an altercation with the senate. On Monday, the Senate President received a letter of invitation from the police to appear before an investigation panel over the Offa robbery incident. This invitation, which was sent on Monday, was equally to prevent Saraki from presiding over plenary. Or how do we explain the less than 24-hour notice. There must have been an ulterior motive to necessitate such short notice of invitation. As a result, it will be difficult therefore to exonerate the police from being accomplice to the political rivalry within the political parties or government.
It is very ugly to watch video of armed police personnel laying siege to the residence of the number three man in the country for nothing other than political gimmicks. The thought of what could have happened had the event gone awry is better imagined than experienced. The police at this time must caution itself to desist from further interference in political rivalry. It muddies the water and prevents a solid ground for political contestations. The police must hence be made aware that disagreements and discords are essential elements of politicking as such must of a necessity excuse itself from partisanship. If indeed it is interested in politics, as an organisation made of Nigerians, they have the right to resign individually and join politics. The country can no longer afford a compromised police force.
Like everything in life, no condition is permanent. Those running the police today will quit the stage very soon. Those that they serve will equally quit some day. Nobody knows where the other will end up. Like have been stated by different groups and individuals, the siege was an overkill; It has exposed our police’s inadequacies when it comes to control and command. The willingness to play to please certain stakeholders is one of the banes of the current police we run. This sort of behaviour energises the argument of those who have called for state policing. Besides, this is not the first instance that the police appear to have taken sides. It has come to be seen as a recurring decimal. Their Monday’s invitation gave them away as an interested party. This is what happens when trust has fallen to very low levels in the system.
The president of the senate who somehow evaded the police later narrated these events to his colleagues. He equally complained about the siege on Ekweremadu’s home which prevented the deputy senate president from attending plenary. His colleagues were later to visit him to solidarise with him. We call on relevant agencies to investigate this dastardly act. But this must go beyond investigation to actual reforms. This still rests squarely on the legislature who must find the nerve to reform and refocus security and law enforcement in the country. Let the reforms be done dispassionately and without bias so that other stakeholders can buy into it. We cannot continue to treat the overbearing attitude of the police with kid gloves. The police under this Inspector General have shown incapacity in the face of challenges but hides behind executive patronage to sustain his hold on power.
In the mean time, we call on the Police Service Commission headed by the experienced and former Inspector General of Police, Musliu Smith to step in to correct this current police hierarchy in some of their poor management styles. Also, the Interior Minister, whose ministry supervises the police appears to have been in perennial hangover. We hope his head clears soon or the legislature must apply its sanctions through budgetary sanctions.