Ekweremadu: Senate, S’East govs reject Police’s claim

…want security agencies to probe assassination attempt

The Senate, yesterday, vehemently rejected the claim by the Nigeria Police Force, that Tuesday’s alleged assassination attempt on the life of the Deputy President of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, was a mere burglary action by hoodlums.
The Senate also berated the Police for perceived unprofessional handling and hasty conclusions on the invasion of the DSP’s residence by suspected armed political assassins.
Consequently, it ordered security agencies to thoroughly investigate the alleged assassination attempt on Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu had told the Upper Chamber at plenary on Tuesday that armed men, whom he presumed to be assassins, allegedly invaded his Abuja residence around 4 a.m.

According to him, the intruders made their way to his bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife at the time, narrating and lamented how the Police poorly responded to his distress calls during and after the incident.

The Red chamber made the resolutions following a point of order raised by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South), drawing the attention of the chamber to the statement issued on Tuesday evening, describing the attack on the DSP as a burglary operation.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, had on Tuesday, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said that the incident was a burglary and not an assassination attempt.

Moshood said that a similar incident also took place at the residence of Haliru Adamu, a neighbour of the Deputy President of the Senate, saying: “investigation so far carried out in the incident does not have any link to assassination attempt”.
However, senators took exception to the report during the debate on Abaribe’s motion, accusing the police of carrying out a hurried investigation without getting to the root of the matter.

Abaribe, who came under orders 42 and 52, lamented that politicians were passing through ominous times in the hands of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, raising the alarm that some politicians, who were not in the good books of the powers that be had been exposed to all sorts of security risks.
He wondered why the Police was doing a cover-up in the allegation of attempted assassination on the person of the Deputy President of the Senate.
His words: “The Police said it was a mere burglary. We all know that these days are very ominous days for politicians in Nigeria, especially for those who are politically correctly exposed as each and every one of us is. For the police to quickly, without even interviewing the very person for whom this incident happened to- the deputy senate president, wife and his son and come out and determine that it was a burglary, actually burgles the mind.

“We know in this country that Bola Ige was killed in his home. We know and also it is a fact that the former gubernatorial candidate, Funsho Williams, was also killed in his home. And the investigations are still ongoing.
“For the police to quickly and willingly dismiss this home invasion that could have led to a fatality is worrisome. Nobody knows how they have come to such situation.

Immediately Abaribe finished his submission, Ekweremadu rose to update his colleagues on the latest development in the incident, so as to guide their contributions.
He said that the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations (Habila Joshak) at last came to his house later on Tuesday.
According to him, the DIG came in company with the Commissioner of Police in the FCT, and said that he was sent by the Inspector General of Police to find out what transpired.

“I showed them round, and of course they were very sympathetic over what happened. So, I was shocked when I woke up this morning to read that police said what happened in my house was a mere case of burglary.
“I’m at a loss because as we speak, they have not taken statements from my son, who was hospitalised; they have not gone to the hospital to find out exactly what happened to my son.

“They have invited security personnel attached to me. Few reported yesterday, some are still reporting this morning, including my ADC. They have not taken their statements, and they came to the conclusion that what happened was a mere case of burglary.”

Ekweremadu noted that the police examined the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footage operated by a DSS staff in his house, but was not able to figure out what happened, saying it was the reason the Police quickly dismissed the incident as a case of burglary.

“Unfortunately for them, later yesterday evening, the technician came and was able to produce the CCTV footage of everything that happened. This includes how the people gained entry into my house, how they got all the way up to my room, the fight that ensued between them, myself, my wife, my son, and all the efforts we made to save our lives.
He consequently threatened to release the footage to the public if the police did not withdraw the report that it was a mere burglary.
He said after seeing the footage, Nigerians should be able to judge whether it was a case of burglary or an attempt to kill him.

Ekweremadu said all he wanted was for the police to get to the root of the matter to be properly guided on how to protect the lives of other Nigerians.
Also kicking against the police report, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP-Abia North) said a mere burglar would not take the risk of invading a highly secured placed like the residence of the Deputy President of the Senate.
He, therefore, urged the police to be more professional by conducting a thorough investigation into the incident.

Ruling on the motion, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, stressed that there was need to address the issue of professionalism in the police in the Police Reform Bill currently before the Senate.
The President of the Senate therefore, urged the Senate to resolve that the bill should be fast tracked, a proposal that was supported when he put it to voice vote.

Meanwhile, the South East Governors’ forum, yesterday, said it was not satisfied with the explanation given by the police on the invasion of the residence of Ekweremadu.
The governors disagreed with the police that the attack was mere burglary and demanded proper and thorough investigation into the incident.
Addressing Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 6 Samuel Ogunjemi, who paid him courtesy call at Government House Abakaliki yesterday, Chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi, urged the police to ensure that life of Ekweremadu, his family and people of the country were adequately protected.
He wondered why the police would describe the attack as burglary when, according to him, his son was captured by the hoodlums in one room and taken to Ekweremadu to open door for them to attack the Deputy Senate President.
“As a Chairman of South East Governors’ forum, our son, DSP Ike Ekweremadu, was almost assassinated. I am not sure that our people are not satisfied with the explanation given by the police that it was a mere burglary. Why would it be mere burglary when the son was captured in one room and taken to the father to open the door?
“So, we demand that the police should do thorough and proper investigation before coming out to say it was a mere burglary. Otherwise, the lives of our leaders are not assured.
“It is not good at all. So we demand, as people of South East, that the police should do proper and thorough investigation and that police should protect his life and the life of every leader in this country. This is very important”, he said.

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