The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Toby Okechukwu, has faulted the comment made by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, that the lower chambers and indeed the National Assembly, lacks the constitutional power to summon the President.
Last week, the House passed a resolution demanding the President appear before it to brief the house on measures being taken to address the deplorable state of security in Nigeria.
Presidential aide, Lauretta Onochi on Monday, December 7, announced via Twitter that the President would be addressing a joint session of the house today, Thursday, December 10.
However, in a statement released on Wednesday, December 9, the Minister of Justice said the house lacked the power to invite President Buhari. Read here.
Reacting to Malami’s statement, Okechukwu, a senior lawyer, said Malami’s position shows that some political actors in the ruling party, APC, are playing politics with the lives of Nigerians. He said that the invitation was a prudent effort on the part of the legislature to find a lasting solution to the worsening insecurity in the country, adding that the President’s willingness to appear was evident in his interaction with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
“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”Okechukwu said
The lawmaker, who represents Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Enugu State, described as unfortunate a situation where every invitation by a branch of government to another branch to interact towards addressing any national challenges was considered as demeaning, thereby triggering unnecessary flexing of muscles.
“It is evident from APC’s position as made public by the AGF that the safety of Nigerian citizens would take a back sit in the next few days, while the argument over who is right or wrong unfortunately takes the front seat” he said