The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said the National Assembly lacks the power to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to speak on security matters.
In a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional Bounds’ issued Wednesday, Malami said security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly must not forget this.
The House of Representatives had last week invited Buhari following the killing of over 43 farmers in Borno State, to explain the rising insecurity in the country.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had later met with the President at the State House after which he hinted that the Buhari had agreed to honour the invitation of the House. He however said the House would give the President the honour of picking a convenient date he would like to appear before lawmakers.
But an aide to the President, Lauretta Onochie, later disclosed in a tweet that Buhari would appear before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday.
There were however unconfirmed reports on Tuesday that the President had decided not to nonour the invite after a meeting with the governors of the All Progressives Congress and leaders of the party.
Malami in a statement on Wednesday said: “The management and control of the security sector is exclusively vested in the President by Section 218 (1) of the Constitution as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces including the power to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces. An invitation that seeks to put the operational use of the Armed Forces to a public interrogation is indeed taking the constitutional rights of law-making beyond bounds.
“As the Commander-in-Chief, the President has exclusivity on security and has confidentiality over security. These powers and rights he does not share. So, by summoning the President on national security operational matters, the House of Representative operated outside constitutional bounds. President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the constitution remains sacrosanct.”