Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, on Wednesday
declared that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu
Tambuwal, no longer occupies his seat after defecting from the
ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to All Progressives Congress,
The police boss made the blunt comments as he appeared before
the House committee investigating the invasion of the National
Assembly by police last Thursday.
The committee invited the IG to explain the barricade of National
Assembly which led to chaos as some lawmakers scaled the fence
to gain entrance.
At the meeting, Mr. Abba pointedly refused to address Mr.
Tambuwal as speaker, triggering angry responses from members of
the committee.
The IG referred to the speaker as "Alhaji Tambuwal".
When confronted by lawmakers, Mr. Abba said he would not
comment further on the case since it is before a court.
The hearing was adjourned abruptly as Mr. Abba stood his ground.
The police chief accused Mr. Tambuwal of leading a band of "thugs"
to invade the National Assembly and assault police officers on duty.
He said security was strengthened around the National Assembly on
Thursday to prevent likely invasion of the premises by political
Mr. Abba said there was credible information that the National
Assembly was going to be penetrated.
"The police high command directed the Commissioner of Police,
FCT, to strengthen the security arrangement in the assembly, the
police headquarters and the INEC headquarters," he said.
"In the process of safeguarding the security of the National
Assembly on the 20th of November, we collaborated with the
National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arm according to laid down
"Members were being asked to identify themselves before they
could be allowed into the premises.
"The invasion of the National Assembly by large number of
suspected thugs caused a reinforcement at the second gate.
"We saw how security at that gate was compromised and we are
investigating the issue of teargas thrown at people,'' Mr. Abba said.
The police chief said officers were "physically beaten, disobeyed and
many other things".
He told the lawmakers his decision to order a siege on the assembly
was in support of democracy.
"From the day I was appointed acting Inspector General of Police, in
my maiden speech I made a pledge that policing all over the world
has gone beyond the issue of arresting suspected criminals,
investigating and prosecuting offenders. Policing worldwide and
Nigeria inclusive, which I pledge to be part of, now include the
support of the development of democracy," he said.
Mr. Abba continued: "I want to state that that pledge was not just
for the words, I meant it. Since then all my effort has been in that
direction in addition to other responsibility on my shoulder.
"2015 elections are around the corner and political activities and
politicking has heightened. As a result of that, I discussed with my
colleagues and told them that we should make all efforts to make
our election credible and peaceful. In the last meeting we had in two
weeks ago, I told them to be focused on efforts that will enable the
police control the activities of political thugs and to mop up arms.
"I told them to do everything within the limit of the provision of the
law to ensure that people do not take laws into their hands, so that
we can have credible and safe conduct of the 2015 elections."
He said the invasion of the assembly was partly in response to an
earlier threat by the APC to cause mayhem in Abuja.
"On the 19th of November, members of a political party including
their leaders and a serving Governor conducted a rally at the Eagle
square. They proceeded in a procession to the headquarters of the
Nigeria Police and made uncomplimentary statements among which
was the fact that what they were doing that afternoon was just a tip
of the iceberg of what they will be doing in subsequent days," he
"They promised to come back on the 20th to continue the
procession with the blockage of the police headquarters, and even
promising to extend to other areas including the National Assembly
and the headquarters of INEC.
"Bearing in mind what happened in the parliament in Burkina Faso
on 30th October 2014, security was strengthened and it included
that the operational procedures of the security of the National
Assembly, must be complied with. That is why the arrangement of
self-identification were made for members to identify themselves,
and that went around and some of the principal officers of the
National Assembly complied and that went on.
"Until when that was disrupted on the arrival of Alhaji Aminu
Tambuwal. With the disruption of the arrangement by quite a
number of suspected thugs, the second gate was not only closed
but reinforcement.
He said the teargas fired by police merely "exploded".
"And to answer to the teargas, yes. Unfortunately, the tear gas
exploded outside the gate and that is being investigated, the
circumstances is being investigated. We saw how security
arrangement at that gate was compromised and we saw how people
we suspect to be thugs crossed the fence and that resulted in the
unfortunate incident were tear gas exploded," the police chief said.

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