From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, yesterday, explained that he did not intentionally ignore the directive of the National Assembly to seal the Kogi State House of Assembly complex.
Arase appeared before the Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila-led 22-man Ad hoc committee investigating his role and that of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, in the crisis.
The National Assembly had resolved to take over the legislative functions of Kogi Assembly and also directed the IGP to seal Kogi assembly until the current crisis is resolved.
However, the AGF allegedly directed the IGP to disregard the directive and claimed that the resolution of Nigeria’s highest legislative body was wrong.
Malami allegedly described the crisis as a misunderstanding among the legislators which did not pose a security threat to the state.
But, Arase told the committee that, as an officer of the law, he is bound to abide by the laid down rules and obey constituted authorities such as the National Assembly.
The IGP blamed the current situation on communication breakdown even as he further explained that the Umar Imam group was able to conduct its recent sitting because the number of policemen at the Assembly were reduced after the complex was sealed off.
He said: “One of the areas of disagreement was that we were not able to distinguish who were the members and who were the staff of the Assembly, and we didn’t want to stop the staff from coming in.
“That day that they came ( to sit), it was an oversight. We shouldn’t have allowed them to do that.
“I am one person who holds great respect for constituted authority.
“I wouldn’t have done anything deliberately to disobey the decision of this honorable House.
“I am aware of the constitutional authority of this House and wouldn’t have done anything to offend you people in any way.”
However, rather than make an appearance, the AGF sent his Special Assistant 1, Sylvester Imhanobe.
Imhanobe said the minister could not come because he was receiving a delegation from the United States of America at that time. The committee, which has two weeks to submit its report, asked the team from the minister’s office to leave and rescheduled Malami to appear on Monday.
The committee subsequently went into a closed-door session with the IGP.