The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said the Nigeria police behaved like “upgraded barbarians” by taking the senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, to Lokoja on a stretcher last week.
He stated this in an interview with State House correspondents on Monday after he and the Senate President Bukola Saraki met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Speaker also condemned the situation where Melaye was wheeled to court by the police, saying that the rule of law must be observed to safeguard the image of the Buhari administration.
He maintained that wheeling people to court does not portray a good image of the nation’s democracy.
Dogara said, “Nigeria is a democracy. The police must operate within the ambit of the rule of law and due process. It is unacceptable for the police to continue to operate like a clan of tribesmen, a sort of upgraded barbarians.
“Anything that happens to one of our members or any member of the National Assembly is of concern to us. And there is no way we can have this kind of meeting without raising that.
“This is a civilian administration, it is democracy and it is imperative and very very important that all institutions of democracy operate within the ambit of the rule of law.
“There is no where, I have said it before that police will behave in a democracy like a clan of tribesmen, like upgraded barbarians sort of. So there is need for us to act with civility.
“We are not saying that anybody should be protected and defended. Once you have committed an offence, our law says you should answer it but you just have to utilise the provision of our constitution, the rule of law and this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has over emphasised in order to bring people to book.
“But a situation where people are wheeled to court, that doesn’t give a good image of our democracy. I have not seen a democracy where people are wheeled to court, they are not in the proper frame of mind and they are forced to undergo trial.
“Whatever it is, even if Dino is pretending as some have said in some section of the media, he cannot pretend forever. He is there, he will not run away, he is a senator and he can be tried any time he is in proper frame of mind.
“As a lawyer, I can tell you, any judge that assesses an accused person not to be in a proper frame of mind, even if the accused person pleads guilty, he is duty bound by law to record a plea of guilt if he is not satisfied as to the soundness of the mind of the accused person,” he said.