22nd January, 2014
After its proceeding was held up for some minutes as a result of rowdiness among members, the Senate agreed to summon the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Muhammed Abubakar, to appear before it over the festering crisis in Rivers State. However, no date was fixed for the appearance of the Nigeria Police boss.
The invitation of the IG followed a debate on a motion on the issue brought by Senator Wilson Ake (APC- Rivers) on the disruption and obstruction of political gatherings by the Police.
Ake had in the motion noted that the Police have in recent times arbitrarily disrupted several rallies in parts of Rivers State.
The Senator noted that such obstruction of peaceful gathering by security agencies is capable of creating anxiety and will lead to further loss of confidence in the security system.
“Rivers State Police Command under its present leadership has witnessed too many attacks professionally unleashed on the ordinary citizens of Rivers and its environs,” said the Senator.
But Senator James Manager (PDP- Delta) tried to the motion through a Point of Order as he noted that the Senate President had previously directed the Senate Police Committee to conduct investigations on the matter.
The Senator added that it will therefore be preemptive to open another debate on the matter when the report of the initial investigation has not been presented to the Committee.
He was supported by Senator George Sekibo (PDP-Rivers) who also argued that debate on the issue be postponed until there is a proper briefing from the Committee on Police Affairs.
He also said the Senate should try to find out whether organisers of the rallies had obtained police permit before proceeding with the motion.
In addition, the Delta State Senator said the Senate should also wait for those mandated to visit Senator Magnus Abe, who was allegedly shot by the Police with rubber bullet during disruption of Save Rivers Group in Rivers State to report their findings.
However, a hot exchange of words between Senators Ahmed Lawan and Manager degenerated into a shouting match between Senators and created a rowdy scene in the red chamber. The proceeding was held up until Manager was convinced to apologise to Lawan .
Thereafter, Senate President David Mark succeeded in calling his colleagues to order and directed the two feuding Senators to walk to the aisle and embrace each other.
The Senate President described the behavior of the two senators as a contradiction of the spirit of dialogue they have been preaching.
He subsequently stopped debate on the motion and moved to the prayers. Senator Mark asked all parties and agencies involved in Rivers crisis to be cautious of the way they conduct themselves and their activities.
“Nobody has the exclusive preserve of violence. Any side can have it. The only reason I allowed this motion is because a distinguished senator is involved. But our own life in the chambers here is not more precious than that of any other Nigerian in this country. But we are all disturbed about the situation in Rivers,” said Mark. “ He added that if the IGP was invited, the Senate will have the opportunity to ask him all the necessary questions.
The Senate consequently voted to condemn the disruption and interruption of the peaceful rallies by men of the Rivers State Police Command and ordered the IGP to appear and brief it on the situation.