Last week, the lower chamber of the National Assembly expressed its anger at the actions and inactions of former Secretary to the Governmenmt of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe, on the controversy surrounding the missing $44 million belonging to National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the appointment of the Director General of the agency and also the role of Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Moshood Jimoh, on the security crisis especially as it related to Benue state. SAMUEL OGIDAN took a look at the developments.
It was busy session at the National Assembly last week, with the lawmakers rising up against the actions and inactions of men believed to be in the corridors of power.
The lawmakers at the lower chambers of the National Assembly had questioned the activities of men like the former SGF, Babagana Kingibe, the Inspection General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, and the Police Public Relation Officer, Jimoh Moshood, who are believed to be in the good book of the presidency.
While the lower chamber of the National Assembly (House of Representatives) had frowned at the role of Kingibe in the missing $44 million from the vault of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the action of the IGP and Police PPRO in the security challenges in Benue and other states, occasioned by armed Fulani herdsmen, the upper chamber, the Senate had on the other hand thrown away the report of its committee set up to look into the herdsmen crisis in Benue state on the ground that the report was bias and did not fully represent what transpired in the state.
The House Committee on Public Safety and National Intelligence had last week gaven Amb. Kingibe, who is the chairman of the Presidential Review Panel and other members of the panel, Tuesday (February 13), to appear before it to explain its role in the controversy that engulfed the NIA.
The missing $44 million has been a subject of controversy in the past few weeks across the country and even the appointment of the NIA DG, Mohammed Rufai
Abubakar,who is believed not qualified for the position because of his alleged dual citizenship and other related issues.
The House had frowned at the disobedience of Kingibe to appear before it to state his role in the controversy surrounding the alleged missing money and the appointment of the DG.
Recall that media reports had alleged surreptitious manoeuvring of the investigation by the Presidential Panel, leading to the disappearance of $44million and subsequent controversial appointment of the new NIA DG.
The former Acting DG of the agency, Mr. Mohammed Dauda, has been quoted in the media as making indicting comments against the former SGF, narrating how he fought attempts by the latter and his “protégé,” the current NIA DG, Rufai Abubakar, as well as the President’s Chief of Staff, Mr Abba Kyari to steal the $44million.
In a letter with reference number: NASS/HR/8/CT.80/IV/326, dated January 30, 2018 and addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the lawmakers had frowned at the non-appearance of Amb. Kingibe, despite invitations to that effect.
The letter read: “The Committee frowns at the non-appearance of the Chairman and members of the Presidential Review Panel headed by Amb. Babagana Kingibe.
“The Committee therefore resolved that the Chairman and members of the Panel are to appear before the Committee on Tuesday,13th February, 2018 by 2:00pm, at suite 4.88, Fourth Floor, House of Representatives, New Building, National Assembly Complex, Abuja”, the letter stated.
Kingibe is believed to be among the power brokers at the Villa, and one of the eyes of the President. He’s also described as one of the muscles behind the happenings in the President’s circle. With all these features in his curriculum vitae, will the villa henchman appear before the lawmakers on Tuesday? Will he also demonstrate his usual character, which the lawmakers are not comfortable with, his penchant to disobey the lawmakers? On Tuesday is just a day from today.
Kingibe is not the only bitter bile in the mouth of the lawmakers, the lower chamber of the National Assembly had also taken the duo of IGP and the Police PPRO to the cleaners, calling for their immediate sack over their roles and utterances in the security challenges, especially the Fulani herdsmen crisis in the country.
While the lawmakers passed a vote of no confidence on the IGP and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to replace him with a more professional Police officer, they also resolved that the Police PPRO should also be relieved of his position for veering of his track, his professional misconduct and partisanship and derogatory statement against the Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom.
The lawmakers’ position followed a motion under Matters of public importance on thuggery in Kano State moved by Hon. Nuhu Damburam (APC) Kano and another motion moved by Hon. Mark Gbillah on the alleged derogatory statements of the Police PRO against the Governor of Benue state.
In his motion, Hon. Damburam said that the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies have turned blind eyes to illegal acts of terror that are been perpetrated in the open.
The lawmakers in their resolution to the motion moved by Rep. Gbillah on the alleged derogatory statement by the PPRO against Governor Ortom, demanded the IGP to tender an unreserved apology to the Governor.
The lawmakers further demanded for the immediate sack of the Police PPRO for alleged professional misconduct and
Piqued by these developments, members of Benue caucus in the House of Representatives, warned the IGP to stay clear of politics and restrict himself to the role of maintaining law and order.
Leader of the Caucus, John Dyegh said, “Moshood’s tirade against the Governor is hate speech and therefore a criminal act.
Pledging their loyalty to the governor and supporting the full implementation of the anti-grazing law as the only panacea to resolving the perennial herdsmen attacks on farmers and communities, the Benue lawmakers condemned and rejected the calls for the resignation of Governor Samuel Ortom by the Nigeria Police, as openly canvassed by Jimoh.
However, six lawmakers, shortly after the resolution of the House, had taken a different position against the decision of the House, insisting that the IGP must be given a fair hearing.
The lawmakers are, Hon. Johnson Agbonayinma (Edo), who sponsored the motion that the House must rescind its position, Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya (Kano), Muhammad Sani Abdul (Bauchi), Ayuba Bello (Borno), Abubakar Chika Adamu (Niger) and Basir Babale (Kano)
Explaining why the House should rescind its position while briefing newsmen, Hon. Agbonayinma said, “I think we were too much in a rush, the motion should have be referred to a committee. Every Nigerian has a right to fair hearing. We were not fair to the IGP.”
With the power play currently at the House of Representatives, coupled with the President, who has never yielded to any of the numerous calls to sack any of his appointees, as well as his recent wake up call on clamping down of the herdsmen, as it can be seen in the surprise military recent military incursions in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba, it will be very doubtful to see the lawmakers exercise and actualize their powers as a arm of government?