- Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara met with President Buhari in Aso Rock
- They said the budget would be passed this week
- They, however, asked the president to compel the police chief to follow the country's laws
The leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, May 7, reported Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris to President Muhammadu Buhari for his failure to appear before the Senate for the second time over the issue of Senator Dino Melaye.
Senate president Bukola Saraki and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, confirmed this development to State House correspondents on Monday after a closed door meeting with the president in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Saraki said they raised the issue of Senator Melaye to the president because of the refusal of the IGP to honour Senate’s invitations.
“Just talking about the issue of the police, we also of course raised the non-appearance of the Inspector-General of Police at the Senate and felt that we must continue to ensure there is adherence to constitutional authority.
“He is a great concern, this is the first time it happened and that matter needs to be addressed considering the importance of the constitution that gives investigative power to us. And that there is need for the police to accept that they too are under that constitution and they must obey that; we raised that concern,’’ he said.
The Senate president, who stated that they were in the Villa on the invitation of the president, reassured that the appropriation bill when laid this week would be passed by the NASS, next week.
Saraki said they briefed the president on the recent invasion of the Senate by hoodlums, saying the president in his response pledged to do something about the incident. He said: “Well, we came on the invitation of Mr President. He wanted to brief us on his trip to the United States and also the issue of the budget.
“We also talked on the issue of concerns to us, the invasion of the National Assembly, which he showed great concern and said action will be taken to investigate that. Well, hopefully it should be laid this. If it can be laid this week and passed early next week but we are hoping it will be laid this week."
Dogara, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said they did not discuss the issue of impeachment process which was raised at the National Assembly two weeks ago.
He, however, frowned at the way and manner the police handled the case of Melaye. He said: “Of course anything that happens to one of our members or any member of the National Assembly is of concern to us. And there is no way we can have this kind of meeting without raising that.
“This is a civilian administration, it is democracy and it is imperative and very very important that all institutions of democracy operate within the ambit of the rule of law. There is nowhere, I have said it before, that police will behave in a democracy like a clan of tribesmen, like an upgraded barbarians sort of.
“So there is need for us to act with civility. We are not saying that anybody should be protected and defended. Once you have committed an offense, our law said you should answer it but you just have to utilize the provision of the constitution.’’
The speaker also condemned the situation where Melaye was wheeled to court by the police, saying that the rule of law must be observed to safeguard the image of the Buhari administration
“A situation where people are wheeled to court, that doesn’t give good image of our democracy. I have not seen a democracy where people are wheeled to court, they are not in the proper frame of mind and they are forced to undergo trial.
“Whatever it is, even if Dino is pretending as some have said it in some section of the media, he cannot pretend forever. He is there, he will not run away, he is a senator and he can be tried any time he is in proper frame of mind.
“As a lawyer, I can tell you, any judge that assesses an accused person not to be in a proper frame of mind, even if the accused person pleads guilty, he is duty bound by law to record a plea of not guilty if he is not satisfied as to the soundness of the mind of the accused person.
“So the emphasis is there and I believe the president, being a listening president, will definitely take steps and do something about it,’’ he added
Melaye is currently facing two separate court trials in Lokoja and Abuja over alleged criminal activity with other arrested suspects and attempted suicide.
Meanwhile, the Kogi state high court in Lokoja on, Monday, May 7, adjourned the hearing of the bail application of Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), to Thursday, May 10.
This came as a result of the inability of parties to tender their counter affidavit and “better” affidavit to the written bail application by Melaye’s counsel, when Justice Nasir Ajanah, on Friday, May 4, ordered that the lawmaker be taken to the National Hospital in Abuja, The Nation reports.
Kogi West senatorial district to recall senator Dino Melaye from the Nigerian Senate - On NAIJ.com TV