Tope Akinyode, a constitutional and human rights lawyer, says the national assembly has the power to summon President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akinyode said this while reacting to the claim of Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the frustration (AGF), that the lawmakers do not have such powers.
The house of representatives had summoned the president to brief them on Nigeria’s security situation.
Although the president had agreed to appear before them, the minister said such summon was directed outside the provisions of the constitution.
Akinyode, however, faulted Malami’s position, describing it as a joke.
He said: “I have read a report by the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN stating that the National Assembly has no right to summon the President over security issues because “the management and control of the security sector is exclusively vested in the President”. I have also read some legal opinions giving support to the AGF’s position that the National Assembly cannot summon the President.
“I want to state that within the precinct of the Nigerian Constitution, it is a joke to assume that the National Assembly cannot summon the President. Not only can the National Assembly summon the President, an ordinary committee of either the Senate or House of Representatives is empowered by law to summon the President. What the National Assembly cannot do is to issue a warrant against the President if the President fails to obey the summons.
“By virtue of Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly can summon ANY person in Nigeria to give evidence before it over any matter that the National Assembly can enact legislation.
“The point to make is that the National Assembly has the power to enact laws in respect of the armed forces. By that token, the President who chiefly administers security issues in Nigeria can be summoned by the National Assembly and even committees of the National Assembly for questioning.”
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