The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, on Sunday summoned the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, over alleged forgery of the Senate Rules on election of its principal officers, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said.
The PDP said Ekweremadu is expected to appear before a team of investigators at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Monday (today).
It said the letter inviting the deputy senate president was dated July 1, 2015 and was signed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of criminal investigation at the FHQ.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said this at a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday.
The Force Headquarters has however said that he did not single out Ekweremadu for investigation.
The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Abayomi Shogunle, explained that the investigation was not about an individual, rather, the police are investigating a petition by a senator alleging forgery of the Senate rules and standing orders.
Shogunle said the case was being handled by the Force Criminal Investigation Department.
“In line with the resolve of the police leadership to gather evidence, the FCID sent a letter to the Senate clerk requesting a meeting with principal officers. The police didn’t send a letter to the deputy senate president, but to the clerk.
“What we did was to write to the clerk to facilitate a meeting with some of the senators to verify the allegations that were made, the police have respect for democratic values; but the clerk is yet to respond to the letter.
“No invitation was sent to the deputy senate president. It’s not about an individual, but about those that should be in the know of the senate rules and standing orders. The investigation is being led by the DIG, FCID.”
The ‘forged rule’ was said to have been used for the election of the leadership of the 8th Senate, in which Bukola Saraki emerged as the Senate President and Ekweremadu the deputy.
Saraki is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, while Ekweremadu is of the minority PDP.
Metuh however alleged that the invitation to Ekweremadu was a ploy to arrest and detain him by the APC-led Federal Government.
He insisted at the Sunday briefing that Ekweremadu would be detained at the FHQ when he showed up on Monday (today).
The PDP spokesman said the national leadership of the APC had not been happy with the election of Ekweremadu as the deputy senate president and that all the attempts allegedly made to let him resign by the ruling party had failed, hence the alleged plan to use the police to intimidate him.
“We are aware that some APC senators opposed to the emergence of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as senate president and deputy senate president respectively met last week and concocted a petition, accusing the deputy senate president of altering the Senate Rules on the process of election of the presiding officers, upon which the police via a letter dated July 1, 2015 and signed by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of criminal investigation at the Force Headquarters has invited him to appear tomorrow (today), Monday, July 6, 2015 where he will be detained and put under pressure.”
He said neither Ekweremadu nor any other senator-elect, prior to the inauguration of the Senate and the election of presiding officers, could have been involved in the process of producing the 2015 Standing Rules of the Senate.
The Senate Standing Rules is strictly done by the bureaucracy under the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“Senator Ekweremadu was not in any way involved in the process other than being nominated for the position of the deputy senate president and could not have been privy to the secret ballot procedure adopted by the National Assembly bureaucracy, which has been widely adjudged as transparent and credible,” Metuh explained.
“Apparently to ensure that the agenda is given an official stamp, the Inspector General of Police, acting on instructions, has invited the deputy senate president with a view to arresting him over phantom charges as a build up to incarcerate him, create a vacuum in the Senate and pave way for the imposition of an APC preferred senator to take over his position.”
Metuh said that the petition by the aggrieved senators to the police lacked merit.
Metuh also said the PDP had information that instructions had been passed to certain officials at the Independent National Electoral Commission to alter some electoral documents and records in order to create the impression that Ekweremadu did not file proper documents for the general elections in order to eventually pave way for his removal.
“In line with the above plot, the APC has been having secret meetings with some judges and lawyers to procure injunctions to prevent Ekweremadu from playing his role as the deputy senate president,” he further alleged.
The PDP spokesman said that part of the plot was a conspiracy to tarnish Ekweremadu’s image and open him to public ridicule.
He alleged that on Monday last week, some APC leaders met in Abuja to perfect a plot to blackmail the deputy senate president by planting bizarre publications against him in the media.
Metuh stated that “the government and APC leaders should be held responsible should any harm come upon the deputy senate president or any of our party leaders for that matter.”
“We state this because information available to us indicates that there are also plans to compromise security around the deputy senate president to make him vulnerable and open for sponsored violent attacks.
“We do hope that the era of political assassination is not about to return to Nigeria and that our nation will not descend into a draconian regime where a strike force is created to hunt key opposition figures.”
He said the PDP would
“not consider it a mere coincidence if our key leaders suddenly become victims of terror attacks or are suddenly killed by armed robbers.”
“This is especially as we are aware that the APC has even gone to the ridiculous extent of trailing key PDP leaders and bugging their telephone lines,” he said.
The National Publicity Secretary of the the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement on Sunday, that it had nothing to do with the decision of the police to invite Ekweremadu.