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).
The AGF had in a statement on Monday maintained that the House of Representatives resolution inviting President Muhammadu Buhari to interface with it on the rising insecurity in the country was “outside constitutional bounds”.
But Okechukwu, a senior lawyer, disagreed with Malami, describing the AGF’s position as “strange”.
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”, he stated.
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 added.
He, therefore, called on President Buhari to rise above the legalese and political fray to show leadership in order to rally the Nigerian people and their parliament to find lasting solutions to the growing insecurity in the country.