President Muhammadu Buhari was advised on Thursday by the minority caucus in the House of Representatives to disregard the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and appear before the House as soon as possible.
The caucus, in a statement signed by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, criticised the statement by the AGF that the National Assembly lacks constitutional powers to summon the president to address it on the deteriorating insecurity and killings.
He said the claim by the Attorney General was unlawful and reckless.
“We as lawmakers, therefore, urge President Buhari not to allow officials like Abubakar Malami to ridicule his office and further alienate him from Nigerians.
“Mr President, having agreed to appear before the House and given that the constitution backs the invitation, should take steps to honour the invitation and not allow himself to be distracted by persons who have demonstrated that they do not wish the nation well,” he stated.
The opposition leader noted that the same section 218 cited by the Attorney General as well as sections 88 and 89 grant the National Assembly the powers to request Mr President’s attention on his handling of security and operations of the armed forces.
“Section 89 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended 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,” he stated.
Elumelu said that President Buhari, in response to the constitutional invitation, had already agreed to appear before the House to address Nigerians.
“Mr. President’s apparent backward steps on the invitation just because handlers like Abubakar Malami, are afraid of the people, puts him in very bad light before Nigerians and the world,” the caucus states.
The caucus described as “reckless” the claims by the Attorney General that by inviting Mr President to address Nigerians, the House of Representatives overstepped its bounds.
“Indeed, as lawmakers, we are surprised that an individual who calls himself a Senior Advocate of Nigerian and who sits in office as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation can reason in such a manner.”
According to the lawmakers, “the fundamental reason for the existence of any government is the security of life and property and such is directly vested on the President as the commander-in-chief.
“Today Nigerians are killed, kidnapped, and maimed every day in all parts of our country. Nigerians live in constant fear, and they are asking questions; they seek reassurances, which only Mr President can offer.
“As elected representatives of the Nigerian people, members of the House of Representatives are mandated by law to ask questions on the state of the nation, especially on issues of security, and that informed the invitation to President Buhari.
“It is therefore sad and a great disservice to the nation and the President that the only opportunity Mr President had to remedy his name by addressing Nigerians through their elected representatives is being thwarted by individuals pursuing their selfish interest not the interest of Mr President or that of the Nigerians people,” the lawmakers stated.
The caucus further expressed concerns over the interest and roles being played by the likes of Abubakar Malami, to frustrate efforts to tackle insecurity in the country.