The House of Representatives has insisted that it has not received any official communication from the Presidency on the non-appearance of President Muhammadu Buhari at the House on Thursday.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the House’s spokesperson disclosed the positions separately on Thursday.
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Gbajabiamila put down an attempt by Rep. Solomon Bob to move a motion on the issue.
Rep. Bob, who came under matters of privileges’, said the Speaker should address the parliament on why the President refused to honour the House’s invitation despite giving his commitment.
The Speaker, however, ruled that a resolution had been passed to invite the president, adding that the President had agreed to come.
He said, till this moment, the House has not received any official correspondent from the Presidency about any situation on the visit.
Similarly, the House’s spokesperson, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, while briefing journalists on the matter, said the House had not received any official communication.
“It is after 1:00pm now and until now, we don’t have any official communication to tell us that the president is coming or not. Or whether the commitment to come has been suspended or shifted.
“Some of you called me yesterday [Wednesday], I told them that we have no official communication and it is the same position now,” he said.
The President was expected to address the Parliament on Thursday but he failed to appear after the invitation which he reportedly agreed to honour.
The House of Representatives invited the President after a resolution demanding that he address the House on the rising insecurity in the country and measures being taken to address the situation.
President Buhari had indicated interest to appear before the lawmakers when the leadership of the House of Representatives, led by the Speaker met with him last week.
The speaker had at the end of the meeting said Buhari had assured that he will address them.
“He (Buhari) was willing to listen as it is typical of Mr President and the usual democrat he is. And what we basically sought is to convey the resolution of the House and to fix a date, which we did not fix out of respect for him,” he said.
It was gathered that the idea took a new turn during Buhari’s meeting with governors when they told him that he should not face the legislators because the aftermath would be disastrous and that members of state Houses of Assembly would also follow suit “at the slightest provocation.”
‘Reps lack power to summon president’
Daily Trust learnt that besides the reasons that were given and the fear of a backlash, top government sources resolved that the decision should be given legal backing.
This, according to sources, prompted the Attorney General of the Federation (AAGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to say that the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Buhari over the spate of insecurity in the country.
According to Malami in a statement: “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,” Malami said.