The House of Representatives on Wednesday condemned the invasion of the residence of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje by security agents during which several document concerning the 2017 budget were allegedly carted away by security agents.
This came just as the House set up an ad hoc committee to invite the Inspector General of Police to appear before it to explain what warranted the invasion.
The House resolution followed a motion moved by Honourable Abubakar Ahmad entitled, “need to check the excesses of security agents with regard to invasion of residences of law abiding”.
The House noted that the invasion was done in total disregard of the Senator Goje’s constitutionally guaranteed right to the privacy of his residence.
The Inspector General of Police was also asked by the House to return all the documents relating to the 2017 Appropriation bill carted away from the residence not later than today (Thursday), so that the passage of the 2017 Appropriation bill is not jeopardized by the unlawful action of the security agents.
The lawmaker while moving the motion said that during the invasion of Senator Goje’s house security agents destroyed doors, bags, ceiling and soakaways, and carted away documents, including reports of the 2017 Appropriations bill which was scheduled to be laid before both chambers of the National Assembly during the week.
According to him, the way and manner security agents, in the course of their duties, invade the privacy of Nigerians citizens with impunity and without regard to law and due process thus portraying the Federal Government as lawless to discerning observers and commentators, both at home and abroad.
He added that, the gestapo manner in which the security agents invade private residences, in the course of carrying out their duties, had being causing apprehension in the minds of citizens.
To this end, he said that unless steps are taken to halt these extra legal actions, the nation may descend into a near fascist state.
In his contribution, Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor said that, the invasion was even more regrettable that the specific security agency involved could not be ascertained, and under whose authority it acted.
On his part, Hon Gabriel Onyewife said democracy all over the world is anchored on principles, one of which is constitutionality and protection of people’s rights. Even if there is suspicion for whatever reason, there are laid down procedures expected to be followed. We are talking of a document as important as the national budget being carted away.
Herman Hembe who described the action as despicable lamented that the raid was carried out even to the private bedroom of the Senator’s wife, while the kids were detained in a separate room for the hours that the raiding lasts.
He however queried that, “Is this how we are going to go? It is despicable. Fighting corruption must be done within the accepted norms”, he said.
Sergius Oguns in his submissions said what was obtained in sane societies was for proper investigation to be concluded before arrests are made, while the reverse has been the case in Nigeria. “How can you just wake up and break into somebody house in a manner that you traumatized even the children. They should not get away with this”, he stated.
Also speaking, Obinna Chidoka said the argument was not that anyone who committee crime should be spared from being investigated, but rather that due process be followed in line with the rule of law.
Contributing, Honourable Toby Okechukwu expressed surprise over the manner the invasion was reportedly carried out, even when Senator Goje was busy at the National Assembly, and could be invited to go with them to his house. “The question is, what essentially were they looking for? They were busy breaking every door, what’s wrong if they invite him to take them to his house.
However, Honourable Musa Soba kicked against the motion saying that the motion was judgemental, saying we should not sit here and enforce anybody’s fundamental human right.
The motion scaled through when it was put to vote by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara who presided over the session.