JUST IN: Reps Gives Police 24hrs Ultimatum Over Budget Documents Allegedly Carted from Goje's Residence
The House of Representatives has given the police 24 hours to return all documents relating to the 2017 appropriation bill allegedly carted away from the residence of a senator, Danjuma Goje, who heads the Senate committee on appropriations, Premium Times reports.
This was due to a motion raised at the plenary by Abubakar Ahmad (Gombe-APC). The House also condemned in strong terms, the invasion of Goje’s residence by security operatives on April 20.
A special team of officers from the Force Headquarters, Abuja had on April 20 carried out a raid on the Asokoro residence of Goje, a former governor of Gombe State, and are yet to give an official reason for the raid.
While raising the motion, Ahmad said security agents destroyed doors, bags, ceilings and soakaways and took away documents including reports of the 2017 appropriation bill which was scheduled to be laid before both chambers of the National Assembly during the week. The proposed budget was initially slated to be passed before the end of March 2017 but the Senate later gave a May 5 deadline for the passage.
“The gestapo manner in which the security agents invade private residences in the course of carrying out their duties is causing apprehension in the minds of citizens” “Unless steps are taken to halt these extra-legal actions, the nation may descend a near fascist state,” Ahmad said.
While leading the debate, Ahmad also raised concerns that the budget may not be passed as scheduled. “Now that the documents are in their (the police) possession, how do we proceed?. We have to curb the excesses of these security agents before it gets out of hand,” he said.
Also contributing to the debate, Herman Hembe (Benue-APC) said it is unfortunate that a senator of the federal republic will have his house broken into by security agents. Hembe said he was particularly worried for ordinary citizens if a senator could be so treated.
“We must condemn this act in its entirety” he said as he also raised concerns that the money found in the house was inconsequential and doesn’t warrant such action." Betty Apiafi (Rivers-PDP) concurred with motion. She said all Nigerians cannot be treated as criminals. “It has happened to the judges, it has now moved to the legislators, who knows what will happen tomorrow?” she said.
Another lawmaker, Tobi Ogechukwu (Enugu PDP), said if Nigeria has to practice democracy, rule of law has to be adhered to.
“Just like Hitler did, they have proceeded to the legislature and we cannot allow this.” The House unanimously agreed to set up an ad-hoc committee to invite the Inspector-General of Police to appear before it to explain what warranted the invasion and to tell the House the laws that backed the force to carry out such operations.
The committee is to report back in two weeks for further legislative action.