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You Must Honour N’Assembly Summon, Falana Tells Buhari

Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says President Muhammadu should save himself from humiliation by honouring the invitation of the national assembly.

Citynews Nigeria had reported how the house of representatives last week had summoned the president over the upsurge in insecurity and other criminal activities in the country.

Subsequently, the presidency said the president would appear before the lawmakers on Thursday (Today).

But Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), on Wednesday, in statement said the president’s appearance before the federal lawmakers is discretionary, noting that the lawmakers can’t compel the president to appear before it.

He averred that the national assembly has no constitutional powers to summon the president.

Reacting to the development, Falana countered Malami’s submissions, saying the president is under moral and legal obligations to appear before the national assembly.

Falani warned Buhari not make himself a subject of ridicule by declining the invitation.

“On his own part, the honourable attorney-general of the federation has questioned the constitutional power of the national assembly to invite the President on the grounds that as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces he cannot be compelled to disclose operational details of the defence of the country,” he said.

“With respect, the president is under a moral and legal obligation to honour the invitation.

“Having accepted the invitation the president should not allow himself to be embarrassed by turning round to turn down the invitation, noting that the national assembly is empowered by the president to summon him.

“By the combined effect of sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution the National Assembly is empowered to summon any public officer including the President in the course of conducting investigation into any matter with respect to which it has power to make laws and the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the national assembly.

“It is pertinent to note that the powers conferred on the national assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and to correct any defects in existing laws; and expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of funds appropriated by it.”

He said apart from addressing the joint session of the national assembly during the presentation of the annual budget, the national assembly has the power to summon the president to address the members on “jumbo loans” being incurred by the federal government.


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