Legislative Aides raise alarm over plot to re-arrest Chairman

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

Legislative Aides to Federal Lawmakers in Nigeria under the auspices of National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum‎ (NASSLAF), have raised alarm over a plot being hatched by the Police to re-arrest the duly elected chairman of the association, Mr. Darlington Udeh.

The group alleged that the plot which is being orchestrated by a serving Senator who was unnamed alongside the Secretary, Corporate services, National Assembly, C.J. Osman, is intended to ensure Darlington Udeh’s indefinite detention by the police.

The Divisional Police Officer of National Assembly, Nancy Ajaponna in a letter dated May 5, 2016, had alleged a breach of peace and public disturbance involving Mr. Udeh, the newly elected Chairman of NASSLAF.

Ajaponna who copied the Commissioner of Police and Area Commander of the Police FCT Command, had requested Mr. Udeh to report to the Divisional Crime Officer, National Assembly Division office on Monday 9th May, 2016 at 1000 hrs. The Udeh led executive committee however honoured the invitation by the Police Division of the National Assembly last week Monday, May 16, 2016.

NASSLAF is now raising alarm over fresh plot to use the Criminal Investigative Department of the FCT Command to re-arrest the Chairman of the Forum. According to the Association, the move‎ is aimed at paving the way for the inauguration of one Samuel Melaye, a younger brother to Senator Dino Melaye, Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, and who is being imposed on the forum by C.J. Osman as its Chairman.

The Forum in a statement issued and signed by the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Yusuf Bamidele, further warned that “the continued use of the police to harass and intimidate the elected leadership of NASSLAF portends consequences which could result to a breakdown of law and order in the National Assembly.

We are reliably informed that a serving Senator has influenced the Police to re-arrest the duly elected Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum, Darlington Udeh, with effect from Monday April 23, 2016, for the purpose of arraignment on spurious allegations yet to be investigated” 

 “It is the plan to keep him indefinitely in detention to pave way for the inauguration of an illegal‎ contraption led by Samuel Melaye, a younger brother to Senator Dino Melaye who chairs the Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, notwithstanding the fact that the duly elected executive committee of NASSLAF has since petitioned the Inspector-General of Police alleging the harassment and intimidation in a petition dated and duly acknowledged by the office of the Inspector-General of Police.

 What this portends is gradual drive towards a total breakdown of law and order in the National Assembly should they go on with their threat”, the statement reads in part.

It would be recaledl‎ that legislative aides had on April 28, 2016, elected Mr. Darlington Udeh as Chairman of NASSLAF following an election which held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja. However, sequel to Udeh’s election, NASSLAF had severally lamented harassment and intimidation‎ of its leadership by the police, a development which led the forum to petition the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase.

In the petition dated May 9, 2016, NASSLAF appealed to the IGP to intervene in the matter so as to bring to a stop the incessant harassment of members of the executive committee by the police.

Voice of Nigeria’s National Assembly Correspondent reports that the case was as at Monday morning (May 23, 2016) transferred to the FCT Command of the Nigeria Police Force, where the issue is currently being treated. The Divisional Police Officer of National Assembly, Nancy Ajaponna, confirmed that the case had been transferred from her desk to the Command Headquarters.

The Chief Supretendent of Police also refuted the allegation by NASSLAF that a plot was being hatched to re-arrest the “factional Chairman of the Aides Forum,” stating that she was surprised to hear of the fresh plot, as according to her, “ did anybody arrest him before,” she quizzed.