A Federal High Court in Abuja has faulted the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, for refusing to honour the Senate’s invitation on the trial of Senator Dino Melaye.
Justice John Tsoho yesterday said Idris’ excuse was not tenable, and that the two suits he filed in relation to the invitation amounted to an abuse of court processes.
The IG filed the suits earlier in the year to challenge the Senate’s insistence that he must honour its invitation in person, and its subsequent declaration that he was not fit to occupy public office.
The Senate had, by an April 25 letter, invited the IG following alleged inhuman treatment of Melaye, and the killings in Benue, Plateau, Kwara states, and others.
Idris, who was expected to appear before the Senate the following day, sent the deputy inspector general of Police (Operations) and commissioner of Police, Kogi State, to represent him.
The Senate refused to grant the men audience, and insisted Idris must appear in person.
The lawmakers rescheduled the meeting for May 2 and again directed that the IG honours its invitation in person.
But the IG filed the first suit on April 30, through his lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN), contending, among others, that he was not required under any known law to honour every invitation in person.
He argued that by the Constitution and Police Act, he can delegate responsibilities, and direct subordinates to represent him, and his choice of the DIG (Operations) and Kogi State Police commissioner was because they were conversant with the issues.
Justice Tsoho upheld the argument by the defendants – the Senate and its president – to the effect that the IG’s suits were intended to hinder the Senate from performing its responsibilities.
His judgment was on one of both suits. He declined to determine the second suit on the grounds that having rendered his opinion on one, he would prefer another judge hears and determine the second.
He returned the file to the chief judge for reassignment.
The judge said although the IG could be excused for not honouring the first invitation because he accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari on an official trip, there was no justification for not honouring the second invitation.
Justice Tsoho noted that the IG, having had knowledge of the Senate’s invitation, his excuse that he could not attend the second invitation because he was on an official trip to Birnin Gwari with the general officer commanding, was “not tenable”.
The judge said: “I do not see any harm that would have been caused if the plaintiff honoured the defendants’ invitation. I uphold the defendants’ argument that the plaintiff’s suit is intended to prevent the exercise of the Senate’s legitimate and constitutional responsibility, and that it constitutes an abuse of court process.”