Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday stated that he was not above the law of the land and not “averse to security checks” in his first reaction to the incident on Monday in Kaduna where soldiers subjected his official vehicle to security checks.
He spoke in Abuja even as the House ordered an investigation into the incident.
Recall that soldiers had stopped Tambuwal and insisted on searching his car as his motorcade made to drive into Hotel 17, the venue of an international conference on security in Africa.
After a brief verbal exchange between his security details and the soldiers on guard at the hotel, Tambuwal reportedly got out of his vehicle angered by the incident and trekked about 50 metres to the venue.
However, speaking on the matter at plenary, Tambuwal said he was not above the law contrary to the impression created in some quarters.
The speaker recalled that recently, while on a “private” trip to France, his luggage and person were subjected to security checks by the personnel of Air France.
He explained that the instance he gave above, showed that as an individual, he was not above the law.
But he clarified that the difference with the Kaduna incident was that he expected to enjoy some privilege accorded his office as the “Speaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Tambuwal noted that, if he could be accorded such privilege outside the shores of Nigeria, he expected that in the country where he was the speaker, he should not be deprived such privilege.
The speaker, who addressed lawmakers on the incident inside the chambers of the House, spoke further, “I want to tell you that I am not above the law. As recently as last week Wednesday when I was travelling to Paris, I subjected myself to screening by staff of the Air France here at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
“My luggage was requested to be searched, and I obliged them; I gave them my luggage. My physical person was frisked, and I allowed that happened without any resistance.
“That is to show everyone that I am not averse to being subjected to scrutiny or screening by constituted authorities.
“The difference between that and what happened in Kaduna is the fact that I was expected to enjoy some protocol and privilege as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria.
“Moreso, from the authorities established by law, several times that I go out of this country, I have been extended courtesies and privileges whereby even my own luggage were not subjected to that because I am the Speaker of the House. “No one out there should have any impression that any of us here in the House of Representatives or in the National Assembly is above the law; that is not the message we are sending. What we are talking about is the institution of the legislature and not the individuals that are constituted in the Nigerian legislature.
“Thank you all for your support, and I thank every Nigerian for their concern on what transpired in Kaduna on Monday”, the speaker said.