Tunde Olumo is one of the veteran legal practitioners based in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. He speaks with our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI on the state of security in Nigeria and why the house invasion of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu by security agencies should be investigated among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Recently, security operatives laid siege on the residence of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, how do you see this scenario?
I want to believe that the Nigeria police are just been over zealous particularly to the person of the Senate President, I see the development as uncalled for, unnecessary and unlawful. Apart from the fact that Saraki is a citizen of Nigeria and he is protected by the constitution, his freedom of movement, human dignity are guaranteed under the law. I do not know why he has to be policed all about. That development was quite unfortunate because it portrays Nigeria in a bad light. For number citizen to be treated in such manner, it is degrading and uncivilised. President Buhari must do something about it and IGP must be called to order, to operate within the ambit of the law.
There has not been any statement from the police as to why the police were at the apartment of the Senate President. Such approach is fatal to the existence of this nation if it has political undertones. If those men in uniform are truly Nigeria police and they are at that venue without any order from their authority then our democracy is in problem.
…do you suggest investigation into the matter
Yes, the security operatives should be on top of the game by now to do thorough investigation and unravel who sent those men in uniform because I will not want to call them Nigeria police yet. A lot of things are happening in this country in which some people were caught in army uniform and they were later denied by the authority of the force. Who knows whether they were not Nigerians as statutory called. For such magnitude of police to be deplored, it must have a lawful reason and if no cause is provided for it, then it means the state of security in this country is in abysmal failure and it must be investigated. It must not be taken with levity.
From legal perspectives, how do you see the issue of Senate President invitation by the police over the Offa Banks robbery?
No doubt, the Nigeria police is empowered to invite anybody whenever there is an alleged offence or when infraction of the law is committed. His invitation was in connection with Offa Banks robbery and ally matter. Saraki was ‘implicated’. Recall that he had earlier been invited in which the police later ask in to transmit a written statement according him the respect of his office, and of course, he had responded to this. The second invitation, I will not want to read any meaning to it, because police have the sufficient power and right to invite anybody to give useful information in respect of matter that is under investigation.
What is fast becoming the game of polity in Nigeria is defection from one party to the other, what do you think this development portends to our democracy?
Defection of a member of National Assembly is not different from defection of any politician, it is normal particularly when the transition period is approaching. Before now, we’ve seen defection on the floor of that house in the wake of this 8th Assembly. Opposition parties then defected to ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Politicians of Nigeria, their interests are dynamic, if a politician had waited for long enough in a particular party and he feels his interest is not coming to actualisation. We cannot say the travail of the Senate President is responsible for all this defection.