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Buhari Invitation: Ozekhome Slams AGF Malami, Says NASS Has Powers To Summon The President

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Nigerian lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has berated President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to appear before the Nigerian lawmakers over insecurity.

The Human Rights Activist expressed disappointment with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami over his statement on Wednesday, December 9, which stated that the National Assembly lack powers to summon the president.

Naija News understands that the House of Representatives had requested for President Buhari to appear before it chamber, following the massacre of Zabarmari rice farmers in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State a few weeks ago.

On his part, the AGF noted in a well-publicised statement that it is not constitutional for the president to answer to the senate in such a case. However, Ozekhome who condemned the AGF’s statement on Thursday, cited several sections of the Constitution that suggested inherent powers of lawmakers to summon Buhari.

The statement reads in part: “I have just read, with angst and trepidation, a statement credited to the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to the effect that the NASS has no power to summon the President over his “operational use of the Armed Forces”.

“I am more disturbed with the AGF’s stance because the President has already voluntarily agreed to appear before the NASS.

“Under sections 217, 218 and 219 of the 1999 Constitution, the President cannot carry out the “operational use of the Armed Forces” without the NASS concurring or empowering him to do so.

“In fact, under section 219(b), the composition of the Armed Forces of the Federation must reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria, and it is only the NASS that has the powers to make laws regulating how the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, carry out the operational use of the Armed Forces.

“The President can never do so alone. So, Mr. President is subject to the scrutiny of the NASS as to why the strategies so far employed by Mr President to combat insecurity have abysmally failed Nigeria; and why he has continued to retain Service Chiefs, whose tenure of office has since expired, and who have since outlived their usefulness, efficiency and effectiveness.

The SAN noted further that “the confidentiality of security-related issues as adduced by the Attorney General has been an open secret to the extent that traditional rulers from the northern part of the country have lamented the insecurity in the zone.”

“There is nothing secret or confidential about the Nigeran security situation, as the AGF want us to believe,” he said.

The statement reads further: “The AGF must be living in another utopian world, not the same world of reality, where the entire Governors of the North East, and the entire Northern establishment and elites, including the Sultan of Sokoto, the ACF and the NEF, who have all decried the terrible insecurity situation in the North.

“Indeed, the Sultan said, without contradiction, that the North is the most hazardous and perilous place to live in Nigeria today.

“So, where is the AGF getting his information about reclaiming of over 14 Local Government Areas allegedly previously controlled by the Boko Haram from? Is there anybody in Nigeria today, including even the toddlers, who do not know that the entire security architecture and apparatchik of Nigeria is over 98% controlled and located in one section and one religion of this pluralistic, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic country called Nigeria?

Ozekhome lamented over wrong advise given to the president by his aides each time there were strategic issues in the country. The SAN admonished President Buhari to make himself available to the lawmakers.

He added, “With these, the AGF should never advise Mr. President not to appear before the NASS. It is not only moral and ethical to do so; it is also legally and constitutionally mandatory for Buhari to honour NASS summons.

“President Buhari should go and face the NASS and answer questions why his government has failed Nigerians so abysmally. Buhari should not be protected. He should not be masqueraded. He should not be screened.

“He should face Nigerians, eye-ball-to-eye-ball, and account for his stewardship of nearly 6 years. It is not only a duty to do so; it is also an obligation he owes the Nigerian People. And this is constitutional. This is also moral. This is also ethical. This is also decent.”

Meanwhile, the Muhammadu Buhari-led government on Thursday announced a reduction of the price of data by more than 50 per cent following a directive that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should put in place measures to that effect, Naija News reports.

Source: Naija News

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