by Dare Lawal
The national assembly was invaded by policemen in November last year when it resumed to consider the president’s request to extend the state of emergency in the North East. The aim was to prevent the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and his supporters from gaining access into the premises. At the time, Tambuwal had just defected from the ruling PDP to the APC.
Shortly after that incident, an adhoc committee was set up by the upper chamber of the national assembly to investigate the siege. It was headed by PDP senator and former Kaduna governor, Ahmed Makarfi.
The report of the committee released last week, gave a clean bill of health to the Inspector General of Police Suleiman Abba as well as the former Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 7 Mbu Joseph Mbu.
Two men who the committee placed some of the blame on are the Federal Capital Police Commissioner Wilson Inalegwu, and the National Assembly Divisional Police Officer James Idachaba.
The clearing of the inspector-general is despite the fact he had refused to recognize Tambuwal as House Speaker when he appeared before the House of Reps police committee and had said that the speaker led a motley crowd of thugs to the national assembly which according to him, led to the security siege.
However when the Makarfi committee submitted its report last week, the IGP and Mbu was cleared.
During the hearing, the FCT Police boss had taken the blame for the invasion arguing that he acted based on intelligence report received from the DPO, Mr. Idachaba.
The committee also indicted a number of senior police officers and recommended that the Police Service Commission which is already investigating the matter should penalize any officer found wanting over the incident.
According to reports:
Senator Makarfi and his colleagues also called for the amendment of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act to allow the Sergeant-At-Arms to bear arms in order to protect the legislature from any such invasion in the future.
The panel also recommended for the removal of police officers from the parliament and the empowering of the Sergeant-At-Arms to take charge of the security of the complex.
In the same vein, the panel recommended that before the Sergeant-At-Arms are trained and equipped, police officers attached to the National Assembly should be well-equip to repel any security breach in the future.
The FCT police Mr. Wilson Inalegwu who according to the committee took responsibility for the unfortunate incident, has ostensibly exonerated the Inspector General of Police Suleiman Abba and the then Assistant Inspector General of Police in-charge of Zone 7 Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. The senate is yet to deliberate on the report.