The Senate has set up a 10-man ad-hoc committee to meet President Muhammadu Buhari over an alleged attempt by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to implicate Senate President Bukola Saraki in a cultism-related case said to have emanated from Kwara State.
This was even as the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), lamented that the issue had caused “needless” disruption to budget consideration.
The resolution to set up the high-powered ad-hoc committee followed a matter of personal explanation raised by Senator Saraki during Wednesday plenary wherein he informed colleagues of an ongoing attempt by the police hierarchy to implicate him and the Kwara State governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed, in a case involving some four cultism suspects arrested in Kwara.
Saraki said: “Distinguished colleagues, just this morning the governor of my state, Abdulfattah Ahmed, called to inform me that certain suspects were arrested on cultism charges in our state and were being prosecuted under state laws but were asked this morning to be transferred to Abuja on the orders of the IGP in an attempts to alter their statements with a view to implicating the state government and particularly myself.
“So, I just want to bring this to the notice of everybody and the international community about what is happening in Nigeria, where we do our work lawfully and as elected representatives of the people and in the process become targets of a political witch-hunt by those whose job it is to protect our rights.”
However, the Senate Minority Leader, Godswil Akpabio (PDP, Akwa Ibom), wondered why an issue as serious as an attempt to frame up the Senate president should just be mentioned in passing without being discussed and decided.
“Mr. President, you just made a cursory remark about four cultists arrested in your state and are being used to implicate you and the state governor.
“Mr. President, that was a serious issue and you are the number three citizen and I feel it’s not just something that you should just mention and keep quiet. I’m surprised that you just mentioned it and you left it like that.
“So, I want to know under which order you came so that we will see if we can discuss it, because as far as I can see, this issue is too weighty an issue to be left un-discussed,” Akpabio said.
But Saraki responded and said: “I just mentioned it as a way of bringing it to the notice of our colleagues so that they’ll know the danger that we face – doing our constitutionally guaranteed duties as elected senators representing our people.
“But if members feel they want to discuss it, there’s no problem, but me as the presiding officer sitting here, I felt I should let the whole house know.”