The Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, has called on the Acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to immediately restore police escort and security detail to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.
Two days after Mr. Tambuwal defected from Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Nigeria Police withdrew his security details.
The Police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, had confirmed report that Mr. Tambuwal was stripped of state protection because he decamped from the ruling PDP.
In a statement, Mr. Ojukwu said, “In view of the recent defection by the Right Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from the People Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressive Congress, APC, and having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has redeployed its personnel attached to his office.”
But the NBA in a statement signed by its National President, Augustine Alegeh, strongly condemned the police for striping Mr. Tambuwal of his escort and security detail. The association said the Nigeria Police is not a court of law and therefore, lacked the competence to determine whether or not Mr. Tambuwal violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
The lawyers’ body said that only the court has the exclusive reserve to determine whether Mr. Tambuwal violated any law by changing parties.
“The Nigeria Bar Association outrightly condemns this action as it is a breach of the constitutional duty of the police to provide police escort and security detail to the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the NBA stated.
“The Rt. Honourable Aminu Tambuwal still remains the Speaker of the House of Representatives and he is entitled to the full paraphernalia of his office, including all his police escort and security detail.
“We must state that the mere fact that Rt. Honourable Aminu Tambuwal defected from one party to the other whilst being the Speaker of the House of Representatives, does not automatically strip him of his position as speaker of the House of Representatives and the attendant protection by the police.”
The association insisted that Mr. Tambuwal was not elected by any one political party, but by a majority of members of the House of Representatives.
It, therefore, called on Mr. Abba to restore the escort and security details to Mr. Tambuwal, adding that withdrawing his security aides portends great danger to the nation’s democracy.
“Our democracy must remain firmly rooted on the respect for due process and the rule of law,” the NBA stated.