Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana has accused the Inspector General of Police Suleiman Abba of getting involved in partisan politics, a development he said was detrimental to maintaining law and order in the country.
In the petition titled “Illegal policing of the republic”, Falana gave three instances where the police have been partial in the discharge of its duties.
“The Osun State governorship election, which took place on August 9, 2014 was almost marred by the Police and other security forces which arrested and detained over 700 leaders of the APC. Indeed, some electoral officers who were assumed to be members of the APC were also railroaded to police custody.
“But for the personal intervention of Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the said electoral officers would not have been released. Thus, the election would have been disrupted by the police and other security forces whose duty it was to maintain law and order during the democratic exercise.
“Second, Mr. Joseph Mbu, the controversial Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 7 of the Nigeria Police Force announced a ban on any rally demanding for #bringbackourgirls within the federal capital territory.
“The ban was designed to assuage the feelings of some officials of the Federal Government who are embarrassed by being reminded of their constitutional duty of rescuing the over 200 Chibok girls who were abducted 6 months ago by the nihilist Boko Haram sect.
“In a judgment delivered last week, the Federal Capital Territory High Court declared the ban illegal, null and void on the ground that it constituted an infringement of the fundamental rights of the patriotic campaigners to freedom of assembly and expression guaranteed by the Constitution. In spite of the judicial indictment you have not deemed it fit to call Mr. Mbu to order for the reckless abuse of police powers.
“Third, you caused the security details of Aminu Tambuwal, the Speaker of the House of Representatives to be withdrawn last week on the ground that he had decamped from the PDP to the APC.
“As if that was enough, you decided to usurp the judicial powers of the federation which are exclusively vested in the courts by section 6 of the Constitution when you claimed that the Speaker had lost his office and seat as a federal legislator having contravened section 68 (1) (g) of the Constitution.
“By your illegal pronouncement you disregarded section 50 (2) (c) thereof which stipulates that the Speaker of the House of Representatives can only be removed by a resolution passed by votes on not less than two thirds majority of the members of the House.”
Mr. Falana noted further that the IGP’s actions and utterances in the circumstance have exposed the Police to unwarranted ridicule.
According to him, Nigerians have not forgotten that when the Ondo State legislators elected on the platform of the Labour Party, LP, decamped to the PDP last month, the IGP did not declare their seats vacant.
“In particular, you did not withdraw the security details of Jumoke Akindele, the Speaker who led her colleagues to dump the LP for the PDP. In the same vein, Ahmadu Fintiri, the Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly and his colleagues who decamped from the PDP to the APC and have since returned to PDP. You did not have cause to declare their seats vacant. Neither have you withdrawn the security details of the Fintiri.
“Thus, by subjecting Aminu Tambuwal to selective persecution on ground that he decamped from the ruling party you violated his fundamental right to freedom from discrimination. As you are no doubt aware, it is a breach of section 42 (1) of the Constitution and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to subject any citizen of Nigeria of a political opinion to disabilities, deprivation and restrictions to which other citizens who hold alternative views or opinions are not made subject.
Since the security details of other Speakers who decamped from the APC and LP to the PDP have not been withdrawn those of Tambuwal were illegally withdrawn. They ought to be restored without any further delay.
“From the information at my disposal your harassment of the Speaker was instigated by the Presidency. But having regard to section 215 (3) of the Constitution which enjoins you to carry out the “lawful directions” of the President of the Republic with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order the actions taken on the Speaker are illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular.
“Therefore, you should withdraw your pronouncement on the office and seat of Tambuwal and advise the ruling party to seek redress in the Federal High Court on the constitutional implications of the defection,” the petition by Falana read.