President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate reinstatement of the security aides of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President gave the order in Awka on Wednesday.
Adesina said Obiano had, while receiving Buhari on arrival at Awka for the grand finale of the All Progressives Congress, governorship rally, complained to the President about the withdrawal of his security aides.
He said the President subsequently directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Mr. Joshak Habila, to ensure the immediate reinstatement of the governor’s security aides.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the reinstatement of the security aides of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
“While welcoming the President on arriving Wednesday in Awka for the Grand Finale of the All Progressives Congress Governorship Rally, the governor had complained about the withdrawal of his security aides.
“Before departing Awka, President Buhari directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Joshak Habila, to ensure the return of the governor’s security personnel.”
Obiano’s security aides were on Tuesday withdrawn on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The withdrawal was ahead of the governorship election in the state scheduled for Saturday.
Also, members of the Senate at the plenary on Wednesday took turns to knock Idris for withdrawing security details attached to the governor.
The lawmakers condemned the claim by the police boss that the security men were withdrawn from the governor to allow a level-playing field for all contestants in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.
The Senate unanimously resolved that the IG should reinstate the governor’s security details “immediately.”
They also mandated the Senate Committee on Police Affairs to ensure that Obiano’s security aides were reinstated as demanded and report back to the chamber on Thursday (today).
The Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, earlier raised a point of order to condemn the IG, describing the withdrawal of Obiano’s security details as a matter of national significance.
Describing the issue as bi-partisan, the lawmaker stated that the parliament was the “gatekeeper” of Nigeria.
He said, “This morning, I was shocked when I listened to an explanation made by the Inspector-General of Police, in respect of the withdrawal of security aides of the governor of Anambra State. The explanation offered went to the extent that because there is the need for a level-playing field for all the candidates in the Anambra election, the sitting governor should lose his security aides. I was in a state of shock when I listened to this explanation.
“In 2019, if the President (Muhammadu Buhari) is contesting, then the President will lose all his security aides because we want a level playing field. I am not a member of APGA, but I am a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and I know that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. If we don’t arrest this matter, the President may be held hostage.”
Bwacha cited the example of Zimbabwe where some aides of President Robert Mugabe allegedly sacked the Vice President and Mugabe claimed not to be aware of the sacking.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, however, prevented the lawmakers from debating the matter, reminding them that Bwacha “unfortunately” came on Order 43 meant for “personal explanations,” which disallows debates.
But the lawmakers protested.
Raising another point of order, the Deputy Minority Whip, Biodun Olujimi, cited Orders 45 and 52, which allows the lawmakers to debate a matter if the majority so desires.
Saraki, however, agreed that the issue should be debated being “a matter of national importance.”
The lawmakers unanimously granted Olujimi’s request.
Olujimi, while condemning the IG, warned that the development could threaten Nigeria’s democracy.
She noted that the same treatment could be meted out to Saraki when he wants to contest in 2019.
“It calls to the fact that somebody is not in charge. Every time, people must be able to checkmate the excesses of people in positions of authority. The IGP has messed it up right now and we need to tell him that he has not done well and something must be done immediately. The aides must be returned to the governor immediately. He is a serving governor,” she said.
But the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, however, said the action by the police boss should not be linked to Buhari, describing it as a “police affair.”
The lawmakers at that point raised their voices, challenging Lawan to cite examples.
The Majority Leader continued, “We should not allow this to stand in this administration. I agree with the position that the IG should restore the policemen withdrawn from the governor.”
Saraki, in his remarks, said the lawmakers did the right thing by accommodating the matter in order to show that there was a plan to cover up the issue.
“What is wrong is wrong. It should not be misinterpreted that the action of the IG was a directive of government. This is purely as the Leader said it and the IG has to do the right thing to ensure that he continues to protect this democracy and immediately restore the aides of the governor,” he said.