Ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s acceptance to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Malam Abubakar Malami, said on Wednesday that the National Assembly lacked the constitutional power to summon him.
Malami insisted that summoning the president over his “operational use of the armed forces” was outside their constitutional powers.
“President Muhamamdu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 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.
“While condoling the bereaved and sympathising with the victims of the associated insecurity in the country, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN maintained that national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity,” Malami said in a statement emailed to Persecondnews.
The House of Representatives had last week passed a resolution summoning the President over the parlous security situation in the country.
Buhari had planned to appear before the lawmakers tomorrow but the state governors had at a meeting with him on Tuesday asked him not to honour their invitation.
It stated: “The president’s efforts on security matters are exclusive and confidential, and as such, “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.”
According to Malami, the decision to appear before the National Assembly should be at the president’s discretion and not by summons.
“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,” the Attorney-General 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.