The Governor of River State, Nyesom Wike says the integrity and reputation of President Muhammadu Buhari is now at stake following his recent refusal to honour the summons of the House of Representatives to address a joint session on the security situation in the country on Thursday, December 10.
The House had, on December 1, invited Buhari to address it following the killing of farmers in the Zabarmari community of Jere local government area of Borno State on November 28, by Boko Haram insurgents.
Though Buhari had agreed to honour the invitation, on Wednesday, December 9, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami released a statement that said the House had no constitutional powers to invite the President and on the day of the sitting, Buhari was conspicuously absent.
Stating his position on the President non-appearance at the joint session in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, Wike said Buhari would have shot up his ratings if he had honoured the Reps invitation.
He added that the level of insecurity leading to deaths, “particularly in Borno State and other parts of the country ought to have compelled President Buhari to keep his promise of honouring the invitation by the House of Representatives.”
Wike pointed out that it was APC members who control a majority in the National Assembly that moved the motion to invite the President to address them on what measures are being taken to tackle and end the spate of violent killings, to which he consented.
The statement released on Friday, December 11, reads:
“There is insecurity. People are dying. You don’t go by a legal approach to solve that problem. If Mr. President had given the assurance, saying my integrity is at stake, therefore I will go, that decision was not taken without talking first to his inner cabinet.
“It’s not a question and answers session. You go with a brief to address the congress. To say, see where it was when we came, see where we are today. Yes, we have not achieved what we thought, but what we require from everyone is cooperation.
“For me, I think this is not the period to be legalistic. This is the period every Nigerian should be concerned about what is happening. Just this morning (Friday), I heard that 16 people were killed on Abuja-Kaduna road yesterday.
“Look at the loss of life in Borno State. Senate has said look, Mr. President, relieve all Service Chiefs, which means they are concerned about the security situation in the country.”
The Governor added that it was wrong for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to turn around to subject the invitation to legal interpretation, instead of protecting the integrity of the President which is now at stake.
He further stated that if he were Malami, he would have advised the President privately to write a letter to the House of Representatives that he would come at a later day because of the exigency of his office.
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