The Attorney-General of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami (SAN), claims that the National Assembly lacks the power to invite president Muhammadu Buhari for question time over the state of insecurity in the country.
Mr. Malami expressed this unconvincing view in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional Bounds’.
The AGF argued that security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly must not forget this.
In his view, the President could freely address the National Assembly when he wants but could not be summoned to do so.
He said, “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.
“Mr. President has enjoyed Constitutional privileges attached to the Office of the President including exclusivity and confidentiality investiture in security operational matters, which remains sacrosanct.”
The AGF added that the National Assembly has no “constitutional power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on operational use of the Armed Forces.
“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 House of Representatives had last week invited Mr. Buhari over worsening insecurity, after the killing of over 43 farmers in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents.
In response, the presidency said that Buhari would appear before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday.
But reports have it that the president may have changed his mind.