By Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu
The spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ben Kalu, has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari is likely to appear before the House next Thursday to rub minds and proffer solutions to the insecurity challenges in the country.
The House had on Tuesday during plenary called on the president to appear before it as insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities continue to ravage the nation.
Kalu, while addressing journalists on Thursday in Abuja, clarified that the president was never summoned by the House, but was only invited so that they could rub minds and seek better ways of tackling the insecurity in the country.
He stated: “As the Speaker said yesterday (Wednesday), it will be out of place since we were not summoning. When you summon, you give date and time, but this is a back channel diplomacy, legislative diplomacy. We are not compelling, we are inviting, and when you invite you rub minds to find out the availability of the person you’re inviting. That was what the leadership did yesterday, they engaged with Mr. President and instead of mandating him to appear on a particular day, they rubbed minds on when it will be convenient for him to appear and he accepted.
“We have an estimate of when we think it’s going to be. In every matter of urgent public importance, time is of the essence and based on that and in the wisdom of the president he’s not delaying but prioritizing on it. So, security is topmost on his agenda at the moment and that’s why in the course of next week since we just finished today, I’m sure he will be able to adjust his programmes. I know Tuesday may not be feasible because we have NEC meeting. So, we are looking at Thursday or upper Tuesday, the date is not yet definite.”
Asked why the House was still engaging service chiefs since the president has refused to sack them, Kalu explained that the call for the sack of services chiefs would be one of the issues that the House would discuss with the president.
According to him, “The service chiefs will be one of the issues the House will discuss with the president. We are looking for solutions. It’s not about the visit of the president, it’s about solution seeking mechanism. We are looking for strategies that will help us find solutions. The visit of the president happens to be one of them. What we want from him is to do a SWOT analysis of the security sector.
“Mr. President what are your strengths so far, your weaknesses. We think these are your weaknesses, if we believe that not changing the service chiefs is a weakness, we will mention it as well. Mr. President what are your threats? How can we help with this your threats, to covert them to opportunities? For example, declaring a state of emergency on security. We will lay everything on the table for him to see so that he will know what we think based on what they informed us at our constituents. It’s going to be a discussion.”
The spokesperson stressed that the House was still engaging the service chiefs because they are still serving the nation, and that the legislative arm can’t boycott them, saying if the House refuses to engage them, it means the Green Chamber is doing a disservice to the nation and to the citizens.
He was of the opinion that the right thing was to keep engaging them and keep asking the president to explain why keeping them was the best strategy to curb the security problems in the country.