The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has insisted that the National Assembly does not have the power to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to address its joint session over the lingering insecurity issues in the country.
Malami who made this assertion on Wednesday, December 9, in a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional Bounds,’ said the NASS lacks the constitutional powers to invite the President as he is not answerable to them.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives had, last week, invited Buhari to appear before a joint session of the National Assembly over the rising insecurity in the country following the killing of rice farmers in Zabarmari community in Jere local government area of Borno State on Saturday, November 28.
Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, had confirmed that the President would honour the invitation of the National Assembly on Thursday, December 10, to address the joint session.
However, Malami is of the opinion that security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly should better forget the invitation of the President.
In the statement, Malami 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.
“The President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the constitution remains sacrosanct.”
Malami insisted that though the President could freely address the National Assembly if, and anytime he wants, the House has no constitutional power to summon him to do so.
“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 National Assembly has no constitutional power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned on the 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.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has recorded tremendous success in containing the hitherto incessant bombing, colossal killings, wanton destruction of lives and property that bedeviled the country before attaining the helm of affairs of the country in 2015.
“The confidentiality of strategies employed by the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not open for public exposure in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror.
“The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was instrumental to the reclaiming of over 14 local governments previously controlled by the Boko Haram in North East is an open secret; the strategies for such achievement are not open for public expose.”
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