The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has said that claims that he was behind the sponsor of the campaign to end the operations of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Special Anti-Roberry Squad ( SARS ) was the height of blackmail against his person and his office.
Notwithstanding, the Speaker said the House of Representatives under his watch would not be intimidated to abandon the investigation into the allegations of corruption and brutality against innocent citizens by SARS.
He said the House would thoroughly investigate this matter and ensure that justice is done.
Dogara’s response followed stories in the media credited to the Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood insinuating that the #EndSARS lead campaigner, Segun Awosanya has ties with politicians, while displaying a photograph in which Awosanya appears with the Speaker.
However, in a briefing yesterday, House Spokesman, Abdulrazaq Namdas said Police Force Public Relations Officer’s (FPRO) insinuation was an affront on the institution of the House of Representatives because the Speaker is a politician while the House is populated by elected politicians and as such will continue to relate with the Nigerian public.
While he strongly advised the police to ensure respect for the constitutional rights of the citizens to participate in governance through opinions and contribution of ideas, Namdas warned that it is incumbent on the Police to protect citizens execriong that constitutional right including the #EndSARS lead campaigner, Awosanya.
While Namdas conveyed the backing of the House for all #endSARS campaigners, he also urged them to conduct themselves orderly.
Namdas said: “Although, the Force PRO denied accusing the speaker of sponsoring Mr. Awosanya and other campaigners, we wish, for the sake of clarity to address the mischief inherent in this sinister and insidious action by Moshood and the Police to make the Speaker and the House of Representatives subject of controversy and to divert public attention from the apparently sordid and weighty allegations against the Police, especially the SARS unit.
“In the consciousness of the fact that the House is investigating the matter, we shall abstain from indulging in any comment that might be prejudicial to the investigation.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the picture in question was taken in September this year, when Mr. Awosanya came to submit the petition against SARS, which is a daily happenstance in the House and indeed any other parliament.
“This should not in any way be interpreted as ‘hobnobbing’ with politicians . If any official interaction between citizens and politicians is to be construed as “hobnobbing” then, all citizens, the Police inclusive would be guilty.
“The Police ought to know that sovereignty belongs to the people and the House of Representatives is made up of true representatives of the people; hence people have the constitutional right to express themselves without let or hindrance; and so can at any time petition the National Assembly, on any issue that affects their interests or the interest of the nation.
“As the Speaker assured the petitioners in September, the House of Representatives under his watch cannot be intimidated to abandon the investigation into these allegations of corruption and brutality against innocent citizens by SARS.
“The House would thoroughly investigate this matter and ensure that justice is done.
“The Police as law enforcers are aware that no institution of government is above the laws of the land and subjection to the oversight and scrutiny of the legislature
“IGP’s directive for immediate reorganization of SARS is a confirmation that all is not well with the activities of the embattled squad.
“This, not withstanding, the House commends the maturity and introspection of the IGP through his directive for immediate reorganisation of SARS which is an indication that all may not be well with the activities of the embattled squad after all.
“The House wishes to strongly advise the police to ensure respect for the constitutional rights of the citizens to participate in governance through opinions and contribution of ideas and must protect citizens execriong that constitutional right including the #EndSARS lead campaigner, Segun Awosanya, or any other campaigners and indeed all citizens exercising their constitutional rights lawfully.
“The House of Representatives remains resolute in its pursuit of justice and entrenchment of the rule of law in Nigeria. It will continue to exercise its statutory responsibility and will not hesitate to wield the big stick where such is the justice of thr case. Of course, citizens are assured that they will not suffer sanctions unjustifiably.
“The House wishes to urge all the #EndSARS campaigners to conduct themselves strictly within the ambit of the law in exercising their rights and to rest assured that the House of Representatives will expeditiously consider their petition.
“The investigations will be carried transparently and everyone will be given opportunity to present his or her side of the story”.