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Buhari To Shun Nass Summon

by on December 9, 2020
 

By Myke Agunwa

Following high level power to play between the two leading political parties in the country, there are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari may shun the summon from the House of Representatives to address a joint sitting of the National Assembly following the intractable insecurity that has engulfed the nation especially the northern part of the country.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilla had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari will address a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday (tomorrow).

The was consequent upon a motion in the House of Representatives moved by Satomi Ahmed at the plenary on December 1st where the House after a rowdy session that ended in a close door meeting resolved to summoned Buhari over the killing of 43 farmers in Zabarmari, a community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State and other pockets of banditry, killings and protests spreading across various parts of the country.

The invitation sparked controversy with the Senate calling for the removal of current service chiefs even as the green chamber insisted that the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces must appear in person to give firsthand information on the state of security in the country.

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But less than 12 hours after the summon, The Attorney General of the Federal and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami disclosed that the National Assembly has no powers to summon the president.

In a statement signed by the AFG on Wednesday, Malami said, “The right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.

“The management and control of the security sector is exclusively vested in the President by Section 218 (1) of the Constitution as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces including the power to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces. An invitation that seeks to put the operational use of the Armed Forces to a public interrogation is indeed taking the constitutional rights of law making beyond bounds.

“As the Commander in Chief, the President has exclusivity on security and has confidentiality over security. These powers and rights he does not share. So, by summoning the President on National Security operational Matters, the House of Representative operated outside constitutional bounds. President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the constitution remains sacrosanct”.

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Earlier while addressing members of the Senate Press Corps on Wednesday, The Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, distanced the Red chambers from the summon.

He said, “There was no resolution of the Nigerian Senate that the President should come and address it on the issue of national security. I expect that every enquiry as to the summoning and coming of the President should be directed to the House of Representatives.

“There was no resolution of the Nigerian Senate that the President should come and address it on the issue of national security. I expect that every enquiry as to the summoning and coming of the President should be directed to the House of Representatives.

“There was no resolution of the Nigerian Senate that the President should come and address it on the issue of national security. I expect that every enquiry as to the summoning and coming of the President should be directed to the House of Representatives”.

Also in his views, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege told State House correspondents that the President will not appear before the National Assembly.

He said, “There was no resolution of the Nigerian Senate that the President should come and address it on the issue of national security. I expect that every enquiry as to the summoning and coming of the President should be directed to the House of Representatives”.

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Meanwhile, The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, has faulted the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, on the powers of the National Assembly to Summon the President, saying the AGF was only airing the position of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Without making undue to efforts to win an argument, Section 89 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended clearly empowers the Senate or the House of Representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with Section 62 of the Constitution to procure evidence, written or oral and to ‘summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place.

“Therefore the attempt to pressurize Mr. President not to appear clearly shows that some highly placed political actors in the ruling party are placing politics over the protection of lives of Nigerians. The APC is evidently fiddling with propaganda and politics while Nigeria burns”, he stated.

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