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Reps to IGP: Free Lado now or we shut down

Barely 48 hours after resuming from a 3-month recess, the House of Representatives on Wednesday threatened to shun plenary from tomorrow if Abdullahi Lado (APC, Niger), currently held at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Abuja, is not immediately released.

The resolution read by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, also said a delegation led by House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) is to meet with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to facilitate Lado’s release, failure of which the House would resort to legal redress.

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The resolution followed a motion brought under matters of public importance by Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) praying the House to wade into the “politically motivated detention” of Abdullahi Lado for 72 hours without trial by the SARS headquarters in Abuja.

Okechukwu, in a lead debate, lamented that all efforts by members of the House to effect Lado’s release from SARS’s detention, has yielded no result.

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He frowned that Lado’s detention was done without due process, since the police did not notify the Presiding Officers of the House before effecting the arrest, praying the House to facilitate his release within 24 hours.

“It is unfortunate that a member of the Parliament could be arrested as a common criminal without notifying the presiding officers of the House. Worse still, the police insisted that he cannot be released without the permission of the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we are under the rule of law or rule of men,” Okechukwu queried.

Contributing, Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia) implored his colleagues that if the lawmakers failed to act on Lado’s detention, then the conversation about Nigeria’s democracy and justice system, is seriously questionable. She insisted that the right thing must be done via the Constitution.

Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), recalled that SARS, as its name implies, was established to tackle cases of armed robbery and kidnapping, saying the recent foray of the security outfit into political squabbles was highly regrettable.

Fred Agbedi (PDP, Bayelsa) said it was obvious that Lado was arrested so as to abort his political ambitions in the recently concluded primary elections, hence, the House should tackle the issue with all seriousness it deserves.

House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) said the disclosure that only the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, could release Lado, was disheartening. He thus urged the House to consider Lado’s disenfranchisement.

Lasun Yusuf (APC, Osun), said the mere fact that a sitting lawmaker has been arrested and detained without trial shows that “Nigerian legislators are the most endangered.”

The House unanimously urged the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to ensure that Lado regains his freedom within 24 hours, else the House would shut down plenary beginning tomorrow.

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