National Assembly Threatens to Invoke Constitution against Buhari

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*Passes vote of confidence on Saraki, Dogara

*Reaffirms vote of no confidence on IGP

From Deji Elumoye and James Emejo in Abuja

The National Assembly Tuesday threatened President Muhammadu Buhari with the invocation of relevant provisions of the constitution if he fails to take urgent steps to address the myriad of problems facing the nation.

The parliament at an emergency session listed the problems to include growing unemployment rate, poverty, insecurity, corruption, election rigging, harassment and humiliation of perceived opponents and violation of the principles of rule of law.

The joint session also passed a vote of confidence on Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Tuesday joint session came on the heels of recent developments between the police and the Senate President.

The police had on Sunday said five gang leaders and some of the suspects arrested in connection with the April 5 Offa bank robbery confessed that they were political thugs of Senator Saraki and Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.

Saraki and the governor have denied the allegations. The police had initially invited Saraki to appear at their office on Guzape, Abuja, but made a U-turn on Monday by requesting him to respond to the allegations in writing within 48 hours.

There were reports Monday that some of the security operatives attached to the Senate President and the Speaker were withdrawn without explanation to the affected presiding officers.
Senate President Saraki who read the 12-point resolution after the emergency session said the two-hour meeting addressed the problems facing the nation and directed the President to tackle the problems headlong.

According to the resolution, the National Assembly will not hesitate to invoke relevant provisions of the Constitution against the Executive if nothing is done to address the resolutions, including the persistent harassment and humiliation of perceived enemies of the President.

On the worrisome security situation across the country, National Assembly said security agencies must be given marching orders by the Executive to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians “and protect life and properties of Nigerians as this is the primary duty of any responsible Government.”

The Assembly also canvassed for the stoppage of systemic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including legislators and the Judiciary by the police and other security agencies.

Other resolutions of the National Assembly include:

· There must be strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees.

· The President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those that carry out any act which will ridicule or endanger our country and democracy.

· Government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective and also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them.

· The sanctity of the National Assembly should be protected and preserved by the Federal Government by not interfering in its business while those who invaded the Senate to seize the mace should be prosecuted.

· National Assembly is to liaise with International Communities through the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA, Parliament, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, US congress and UK Parliament to secure the nation’s democracy. Democratic elections must be competitive and inclusive by removing the present reign of fear and intimidation particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections.

· National Assembly is to work closely with Civil Society Organisations, Trade Unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect democracy.

· The President must take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that we have advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel.

· National Assembly passes a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly.

· Affirms its earlier resolution of vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police who does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerians and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the President and outright disregard for constitutional authority.