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Wednesday 9 December 2020

Why Buhari cannot appear before National Assembly: AGF Malami

Why Buhari cannot appear before National Assembly: AGF Malami

Nigeria's Attorney General, Abubakar Malami

Invoking the Constitution, the attorney-general argued that federal lawmakers have no powers to summon the president.

Attorney-General Abubakar Malami on Wednesday said President Muhammadu Buhari cannot be ordered to address the parliament, effectively confirming Peoples Gazette’s exclusive on Wednesday night that said the president had called off his scheduled appearance before lawmakers.

Mr. Malami said the parliament’s decision to summon the president over raging insecurity was a needless legislative overreach that should not be allowed to stand.

Mr. Malami made the case for the president to shun the invitation because it lacked constitutional basis. Besides, the attorney-general said Mr. Buhari has already done a lot in the area of security, and how he had kept the country secure from Boko Haram and other violent groups should not be subjected to public scrutiny.

Read the attorney-general’s full statement as sent to Peoples Gazette this afternoon below:

President Muhamamdu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has recorded tremendous success in containing the hitherto incessant bombing, colossal killings, wanton destruction of lives and property that bedeviled the country before attaining the helm of affairs of the country in 2015.

The confidentiality of strategies employed by the President as the commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not open for public exposure in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror.

The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was instrumental to the reclaiming of over 14 local governments previously controlled by the Boko Haram in North East is an open secret, the strategies for such achievement are not open for public exposure.

While consoling the bereaved and sympathising with the victims of the associated insecurity in the country, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN maintained that national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity.

He said Mr. President has enjoyed constitutional privileges attached to the Office of the President including exclusivity and confidentiality investiture in security operational matters, which remains sacrosanct.

Malami added that the National Assembly has no constitutional power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on operational use of the Armed Forces.

The right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.

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. The President’s exclusivity of constitutional confidentiality investiture within the context of the Constitution remains sacrosanct.

Abubakar Malami, SAN,

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,

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