The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said that the national assembly off Nigeria has no right to summon the President, Muhammadu Buhari over the spate of insecurity in the country.
Malami, in a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional Bounds’ on Wednesday, said security matters of the country remains the exclusive concern of the executive arm of government and as such, the legislative arm should and must steer clear the matter.
The House of Representatives led by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had last week invited Buhari over the rising insecurity and the killing of over 43 farmers in Borno State.
An aide to the President, Lauretta Onochie, had also revealed that Buhari would appear before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday. However, reports began to filter in on Tuesday that the President had decided not to attend the meeting any longer.
The AGF said security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly must not forget this.
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.”
Malami said the President could freely address the National Assembly when he wants but could not be summoned to do so.
He said, “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.”