The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has disclosed that the last minute decision by President Muhammadu Buhari not to honour the invitation by the House of Representatives has placed him in a bad light before Nigerians and the world.
The Caucus in a statement on Thursday by the House Minority leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP,Delta) faulted the claim by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that the National Assembly lacks powers to invite the President.
“Mr. President’s apparent backward steps on the invitation just because handlers like Abubakar Malami, are afraid of the people, puts him in very bad light before Nigerians and the world,” the statement noted.
Buhari was invited by the House to address Nigerians on the growing insecurity, killings and acts of terrorism in the country.
Elumelu stated that, the assertion by the Attorney General amounts to standing the law on its head and portrays him as an officer who is not in touch with the laws and the realities on ground.
According to him, the same section 218 cited by the Attorney General as well as sections 88 and 89 clearly granted the National Assembly the powers to request Mr. President’s attention on his handling of security and operations of the armed forces.
“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.
The Caucus added that, President Buhari had responded to the invitation and had already agreed to appear before the House to address Nigerians.
“It is therefore sad and a great disservice to the nation and the President that the only opportunity Mr. President had to remedy his name by addressing Nigerians through their elected representatives is being thwarted by individuals pursuing their selfish interest not the interest of Mr. President or that of the Nigerians people”, the lawmakers stated.
The caucus described as “reckless ” the claims by the Attorney General that by inviting Mr. President to address Nigerians, the House of Representatives overstepped its bounds.
“Indeed, as lawmakers, we are surprised that an individual who calls himself a Senior Advocate of Nigerian and who sits in office as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation can reason in such manner,”they added.