IG of Police, Arase ordered to appear in court over Senate forgery scandal

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase, to appear before it on Tuesday to answer questions on the ongoing investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order 2015.

The judge, Gabriel Kolawole, in his ruling made available on Saturday, asked Arase to appear and give reasons why the petitions sought by the plaintiff in his ex parte application should not be granted.

Kolawole gave the directive while ruling on an ex parte application by the senator representing Enugu-East Senatorial District, Gilbert Nnaji, seeking to restrain the IGP and the Attorney-General of the Federation from taking further steps on the investigation of alleged forgery in the Senate’s rules.

Rather than granting Nnaji’s petition, Kolawole ordered the IG to appear in court on Tuesday to tell the court why it should not grant the request contained in the plaintiff’s ex parte motion.

Nnaji, through his counsel, P. J Nwokolo, had on Monday urged Kolawole to, among others, restrain further investigation of the allegation and publish its report.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/646/15, was filed before the release and sending of the Police Report to the AGF’s office for further action.

The IGP and the AGF are the two respondents to the suit.

Ruling on the ex parte application shortly after Nnaji’s lawyer moved it on Monday, Justice Kolawole held that he could not grant the restraining order at the level of ex parte hearing, since it was the same issue the plaintiff canvassed in their substantive suit.

He held that he needed to afford both the IGP and the AGF to be heard before taking a decision on the ex parte petitions.

Kolawole stated that it is a little bit worrisome, the involvement of the police being an agency of the executive arm of government, in the case by inviting for questioning, certain members of the Senate.

“The court is a bit wary on an ex parte proceeding to allow the plaintiff (Nnaji) to have his day in court because the courts are not created or established to supervise the National Assembly in the way and manner it will run its own constitutional duties, except where its acts border on a substantial infraction of the constitution, which goes beyond its own internal rules or procedure, or the application of its standing order.

“To do otherwise is to work to subvert the hallowed constitutional principles of separation of powers upon which the machinery of government is proposed to be run and to be operated.

“My decision is not to make orders directing both parties to maintain status quo as it is often misinterpreted by both parties.

“Rather, I will direct that the defendants, who had already been served with the originating summons, and the plaintiff’s motion of notice, shall on the return date, show cause why the orders being sought by the plaintiff on his motion ex parte dated and filed on 23-07-15, shall not be granted,” he said.

 

 

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