Femi Falana, Senior Advicate of Nigeria, has argued that President Muhammadu Buhari is under a moral and legal obligation to honour the invitation of the National Assembly.
Amid worsening security crisis in the country, the House of Representatives had resolved to invite President Buhari to address them today, Thursday.
But Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, said Wednesday the federal lawmakers lack the constitutional power to summon the President over his “operational use of the armed forces”.
“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 exposore in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror,” Malami added.
Against the AGF position, Falana argued that “by the combined effect of sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution the National Assembly is empowered to summon any public officer including the President”.
He added that the president should not allow himself to be embarrassed by turning down the invitation.
“On his own part, the honourable attorney-general of the federation has questioned the constitutional power of the national assembly to invite the President on the grounds that as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces he cannot be compelled to disclose operational details of the defence of the country,” human rights activist said.
“With respect, the president is under a moral and legal obligation to honour the invitation.
“Having accepted the invitation the president should not allow himself to be embarrassed by turning round to turn down the invitation.
“By the combined effect of sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution the National Assembly is empowered to summon any public officer including the President in the course of conducting investigation into any matter with respect to which it has power to make laws and the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the national assembly.
“It is pertinent to note that the powers conferred on the national assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and to correct any defects in existing laws; and expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of funds appropriated by it.”