The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, on Thursday denied giving instructions to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Asokoro, Abuja, to disrupt a meeting of G7 governors which was ongoing at the Kano State governor’s lodge a fortnight ago.
CSP Nnana Amah of the Asokoro police station had led scores of policemen to barge in on governors, who are members of the New Peoples’ Democratic Party, saying he had ‘orders from above’ to disband the meeting or arrest the participants if they refused to call off their meeting.
Abubakar, who denied giving the order himself or by proxy, however, added, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, that every state commissioner is responsible for happenings within his domain.
The IGP said, “I want to say, before I comment on that particular incident: there is nowhere, there is no time an instruction was given to any particular police officer, to disrupt a meeting of any particular organisation that is lawful.
“Neither myself nor through any of my aides have I directed any police officer to disrupt any meeting. “
“Remember as a police force, in every police force, there are certain responsibilities, the commissioner of police of a state has responsibilities of that particular state; so is the commissioner of FCT.”
Mr. Abubakar informed the committee that the DPO, who allegedly disrupted the meeting, could not have done so with any other intention than to provide adequate security cover for the governors.
“Anything that happens in FCT, the commissioner will be asked to explain why it happened, be it robbery, be it kidnapping, be it any act of illegality, and the point in question, where this meeting took place is a very key area for the police because most of these areas we do know that there are liaison offices for state governors. We are aware of the fact that they require high level of security to maintain that place, and I believe, without any contradiction, the DPO was not sent by anybody to do what he did. I believe the DPO was merely there to provide safety and security for whatever is taking place”.
The IGP’s position was corroborated by the police officer in charge of the zone, Suleiman Abba, who told the Usman Kumo-led committee that in the wake of the incident, he inquired from CSP Amah who insisted that he was at the governors’ lodge to carry out his duty.
He said the DPO told him that his main reason for going to the lodge was to monitor security.
Members of the committee, however, faulted Abba’s submission, saying the governors have their own security personnel, who are always around them.
In his response, Abba said the ADCs may not be able to provide adequate security for the environment as their primary duty is to provide security for their principals.
The decision to summon the IGP was sequel to a motion sponsored by Hon. Idris Mohammed Sani Kutigi (PDP, Niger) along with 60 others. The lawmakers had noted “with concern the action of the Nigeria Police Force, which violated the provision of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), specifically sections 40 and 308(1) (a) and (3)”.
The committee is expected to submit its report to the House next week.