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Reps invite IG over police ‘spending of N7.2b without virement’

THE House of Representatives yesterday invited the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, over alleged violations of the 2016 Appropriation Act, the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act.

Specifically, Idris is to answer queries on why the sum of N1.2 billion approved in the Appropriation Act of 2016 for the purchase of 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers by the police was diverted for the purchase of 64 Toyota Hiace Commuter vehicles without the approval of the National Assembly.

He is to explain how the sum of N6 billion appropriated for rehabilitation and reconstruction of 102 police stations nationwide was also diverted for other uses without the approval of the National Assembly.

According to the House, Idris is to appear before the Committee on Police Affairs unfailingly on Thursday, January 19.

The resolution of the House was sequel to the passage of a motion brought by a member, Onyenwife Gabriel, on the issue.

Moving the motion, Gabriel urged the House to call the IGP to order, saying infractions of the Appropriation Act 2016, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Public Procurement Act 2007 were just a few of the several infractions committed by the police in the course of implementation of the 2016 budget.

The lawmaker said: “The Committee on Police Affairs invited the Inspector-General of Police on December 6, 2016 and December 13, 2016, in his capacity as the chief executive and accounting officer of the Force to explain or justify these perceived infractions, but he failed or refused to honour the invitations or justify his failure or refusal to attend.

“The diversion of a sum appropriated in the budget without the approval of the National Assembly constitutes a breach of the Appropriation Act and gross violation of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”

According to Gabriel, the persistent failure or refusal of the Inspector-General of Police to honour the invitations has stalled the investigation of the alleged diversion of the funds.

Members such as Mohammed Sanni Abdu, Pally Iriase, Bode Ayorinde, Adeyinka Ajayi, Thaddeus Oguns, Ahmed Yerima, Oluwole Oke and Mojeed Alabi insisted that the IGP must come and answer the questions of the Committee on Police Affairs

Iriase said should the IGP refuse to appear a third time, a warrant of arrest should be issued on him.

He said:  “We have an IGP, who probably does not know the limit of his power. I don’t subscribe to that. The motion in every respect is good. The law is not only made for the weak, but also for the strong. Twice the committee has summoned him. Now they have come to the parliament; if we’re begging the question, it means we are not serious.”

Oguns urged an immediate issuance of the warrant of arrest.

“I will urge that a bench warrant should be given for obvious reason. If someone lays an allegation against you; I don’t think the Police will give you three opportunities to defend yourself. I urge that we issue the bench warrant immediately.”

Ahmed Yerima said: “The police, who are the enforcers of the law, are the ones flouting the law. We should act appropriately to stop the impunity. He suggested that until the police are able to explain satisfactorily how they spent the money of last year, no new votes should be allocated to them.”

But when the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, called for a vote on the motion, it was passed without dissent. However, the prayer asking that a bench warrant to be executed for the arrest of the Inspector-General of Police for the purpose of his appearance before the committee was removed.

The lawmakers eventually agreed to give the IGP another opportunity to appear before the committee before considering a more drastic action in the event of his refusal or failure to appear before the committee.

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