The IGP had in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 457/2018, argued that he was permitted under the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Police Act, to delegate a Deputy Inspector General of Police to appear before the Senate on his behalf.
He queried the insistence of the Senate that he must personally appear before it with respect to a face-off that existed between the Nigerian Police Force and Senator Dino Melaye who is representing Kogi West.
The Senate had in two separate letters dated April 25 and 26, summoned the IGP to appear and brief it on circumstances that surrounded alleged inhumane treatment that Senator Melaye suffered in the hands of police officers.
However, the IGP, failed to appear on both dates, even though he sent a delegate to represent him, an action that was condemned by the lawmakers who insisted he must appear personally.
In a counter move, the IGP dragged both the Senate and its President, Dr. Bukola Saraki before the high court, and sought for an order to restrain them, their assigns, agents or any committees from insisting that he must appear in person, to the exclusion of any of his subordinate officers.
On why he could not honour the invitation in person, the IGP told the court that he accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari on a trip to Bauchi State and was therefore on official assignment when the first invitation was issued.
“That as a result of the above development, he then directed and delegated the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, an Assistant Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, who had adequate knowledge of the two subject matters which the Senate required briefing, to appear before the Senate on April 26, 2018 on his behalf”, the IGP told the court in his 11-paragraphed affidavit.
He urged the court to among other things, determine, “Whether the letters dated April 25 and 26, 2018 by the 1st and 2nd defendants (Senate and Senate President) to the plaintiff to appear before it on 26th April, 2018 and 2nd May, 2018 or any other date do not relate to the office of the plaintiff by virtue of section 215 (1) (a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”.
Delivering judgment in the matter, Justice John Tsoho struck out the suit on the premise that it amounted to an abuse of court process.
The court held that the IGP failed to show a reasonable cause for his inability to personally respond to the second invitation dated April 26.
Justice Tsoho said it was not in doubt that as at the time the Senate summoned the IGP, the subject matter for his appearance which involved Senator Melaye, was already a case before a competent court of jurisdiction on the issue.
He held that the IGP ought to have appeared before the lawmakers and explained to them that the matter was subjudice.
The court further observed that the heading of the letter to the IGP, ‘Invitation to brief the Senate on the inhuman treatment of Senator Dino Melaye over a matter that is pending in Court’, indicated that the Senate was already aware that the case was in court.
Besides, Justice Tsoho held that the IGP’s reason that he went to Birnin Gwari with the GOC on April 26, was not tenable.
“I did not see any harm that would have been caused if the IGP honoured the Senate’s invitation.
“I uphold the defendants argument that the plaintiff’s suit is intended to prevent the exercise of Senate’s Legitimate responsibility and therefore amounts to an abuse of court process”.
“I hold that the Plaintiff should have appeared before the Senate to brief it on the action of the Police in a matter before a court.
“The plaintiff ought to have briefed the Senate instead of running to the court to stop the Senate from investigating him.
“The action amounts to an abuse of court process and it is hereby struck out”, the court held.
In a related development, Justice Tsoho, disqualified himself from deciding another suit the IGP filed to quash a resolution the Senate passed on May 9, which declared him as an “enemy of democracy” who is “unfit” to retain his position.
The Police boss had in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/554/2018, prayed the court to bar the Senate from taking further steps to gazette the resolution which followed his refusal to appear before it.
Justice Tsoho held that since the matter was related to the one he struck out, it would serve the end of justice for the case file to be returned to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another Judge.