The Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Muhammed Abubakar, to appear before it over the Rivers State crisis.
The Senate, however, did not give any specific date on which the IGP would appear before it.
The Senate took the decision on Wednesday in Abuja following debate on a motion brought by Senator Wilson Ake (APC- Rivers) on the disruption and obstruction of political gatherings by the Police.
Ake observed that the hostile approach deployed by the Police in disrupting several rallies in parts of the state had enormous implication for the whole country.
He said the arbitrary obstruction of peaceful gathering by security agencies in Rivers State would create anxiety and lead to further loss of confidence in the security system.
“Rivers State Police Command under its present leadership has witnessed too many attacks professionally unleashed on the ordinary citizens of Rivers and it’s environ.”
Senator James Manager (PDP- Delta) sought to stop the motion through a Point of Order, saying that the Senate President had directed the Senate Police Committee to conduct preliminary investigations on the matter.
According to him, it would be preemptive to debate on the issue as the committee is yet to report back to the Senate.
Senator George Sekibo (PDP-Rivers), who supported Manager, said the debate be deferred to get proper briefing from the police committee and to determine whether organisers of the rallies had obtained police permit.
He also argued that those mandated by the Senate to visit Senator Magnus Abe in a London hospital were yet to report back on their visit.
Sekibo’s contribution was, however, disrupted when Senators Ahmed Lawan and Manager engaged each other in a hot exchange over some remarks made by Manager.
This resulted into a shouting match among the senators, thereby turning the plenary into a rowdy atmosphere, with Ahmed insisting that Manager should apologise.
Senator Alkali Jajere (APC- Yobe) also insisted that Manager should tender an apology to the visibly vexed Lawan.
It took the intervention of other senators from both sides before Manager apologised to Lawan thereby calming tempers from rising further.
Senate President David Mark called the session to order, and directed the two senators to walk to the aisle and embrace each other.
He said their conduct did not promote the spirit of dialogue which they have been preaching.
“At this stage, we would dialogue, dialogue, dialogue and then we want to fight; the paradox is inexplicable.
“The contradiction is unacceptable; but I accept that tempers rose just now and I hope it doesn’t rise again from anybody,” Mark cautioned.
The Senate President added that further debate on the motion be discontinued and consideration be given to the prayers of the motion.
He cautioned all the parties to the crisis in Rivers to be cautious in the way they carried out their activities.
“There is a need for all the agencies involved to consider and weigh their activities in Rivers.
“Whether it is the Police, the Army or the politicians, government officials or civil society groups.
“Nobody has the exclusive preserve of violence. Any side can have it. The only reason I allowed this motion is because a distinguished senator is involved.
“But our own life in the chambers here is not more precious than that of any other Nigerian in this country. But we are all disturbed about the situation in Rivers.
“My suggestion on this matter now, so that we don’t have any tempers rising, is to go straight to the prayers and take the prayers that are important.
“And at that point, if for any reason we agree that we invite the IGP here, then we will all have the opportunity to ask him all the clarifications we need.”
The Senate condemned the disruption and interruption of the peaceful rallies by men of the Rivers State Police Command and ordered the IGP to appear and brief it on the situation.
No date was fixed for him to appear.