The deployment of Nigerian troops to The Gambia without approval of the National Assembly came under the searchlight of the Senate yesterday.
Some senators said it was a breach of the Constitution for President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy soldiers to The Gambia to force President Yahya Jammeh out, without notifying and obtaining the consent of the National Assembly.
Nigeria has despatched warships and fighter jets for a possible military intervention in The Gambia to force Jammeh, whose tenure ended 12 midnight yesterday, out of office.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), who relied on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule and Section 5(4), of the 1999 Constitution as amended, said Buhari erred by deploying troops outside the shores of the country without seeking the Senate’s consent.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, faulted Utazi’s position. Saraki noted that the President was still within the confines of the law.
The Senate President said the Constitution protects President Buhari to deploy troops, as long as the operation does not exceed seven days.
Relying on Section 5(5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Saraki noted that until the expiration of seven days, it would be wrong to fault the action of the President.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu countered. He warned that it would be wrong to undermine the institution of the Senate.
He noted that weakening the institution of the Senate would amount to setting a bad precedent.
The Senate did not take any official position on the matter as Saraki foreclosed further contributions.
The Senate President did not also rule on the constitutional matter raised by Utazi and Ekweremadu.