Nigeria President Ignores Lawmakers Invitation Over Insecurity
A day before his commitment to honour an invitation by the House of Representatives to address lawmakers on what his administration is doing to combat rising insecurity, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday walked back on his promise.
The presidency cited the constitution, which the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said does not confer the power to summon the president on the National Assembly, for Buhari’s change of mind.
However, the minister’s position elicited divergent reactions from a cross-section of stakeholders, with Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, concurring with him while the House Minority Caucus and lawyers differed.
Notwithstanding the presidency’s clarification, the House spokesman, Hon. Ben Kalu, said yesterday that lawmakers were still expecting the president to fulfill to his promise to appear before them today.
Kalu anchored his position on the fact that the House has not been formally notified that the president would no longer honour the invitation.
House Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had told State House reporters last Wednesday, when he led a delegation to convey the House’s invitation to Buhari that the president had pledged to honour the invitation.
The summoning of the president followed the consideration of a motion on December 1, moved by Hon. Satomi Ahmed, on behalf of 10 other Borno State federal lawmakers, to summon Buhari, and to amongst other things, declare a state of emergency on some areas to tackle the worsening insecurity.
The motion was informed by the killing of over 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari village, near Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on November 28.
Although Gbajabiamila was non-committal on the date of the president’s appearance.
Buhari’s Special Assistant (New Media), Ms. Lauretta Onochie, in a tweet a few days later, confirmed that the president would honour the House’s invitation today.
But a few days after committing himself to honour the House’s invitation, the president came under pressure of All Progressives Congress (APC) governors and other party bigwigs not to honour the invitation.