Deputy Minority Leader Faults Malami, Says House Has Power to Invite Buhari

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Toby Okechukwu

•Warns APC playing politics with lives of Nigerians

By Adedayo Akinwale

The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, has faulted the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, over a statement credited to him that the National Assembly lacks power to summon the President.

He was of the opinion that the attempt to pressurise President Muhammadu Buhari not to appear before the National Assembly clearly shows that some highly placed political actors in the ruling party were placing politics over the protection of lives of Nigerians.

Okechukwu, in a statement issued Wednesday, described Malami’s position as “strange”.

He stated: “Without making undue efforts to win an argument, Section 89 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended clearly empowers the Senate or the House of Representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with Section 62 of the Constitution to procure evidence, written or oral and to ‘summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place.

“Therefore the attempt to pressurise Mr. President not to appear clearly shows that some highly placed political actors in the ruling party are placing politics over the protection of lives of Nigerians. The APC is evidently fiddling with propaganda and politics while Nigeria burns.”

Okechukwu pointed out that the invitation of the House was a prudent effort on the part of the legislature to find a lasting solution to the worsening insecurity in the country.

He stressed that the President’s willingness to appear was evident in his interaction with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The lawmaker said it was unfortunate where every invitation by a branch of government to another branch to interact towards addressing any national challenge was considered as demeaning, thereby triggering unnecessary flexing of muscles.

According to him, It is evident from APC’s position as made public by the AGF that the safety of Nigerian citizens would take a back seat in the next few days, while the argument over who is right or wrong unfortunately takes the front seat.

Okechukwu called on President Buhari to rise above political fray to show leadership in order to rally the Nigerian people and their parliament to find lasting solutions to the growing insecurity in the country.