SENATE yesterday disowned the House of Representatives over its summon of President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it to offer explanations on the increasing wave of insecurity.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, while fielding questions from journalists at the National Assembly over Buhari’s summon and expected appearance before a joint session of the legislature, said the upper legislative chamber does not believe in the summon.

“I am a constitutionalist. I believe that we are operating a presidential system of government. I believe in the concept of separation of powers. We have three equal arms of government. The framers of our constitution did not envisage that one arm of government will be summoning the head of another co-equal arm of government to come and offer explanations on the floor.

“I think those of you who are familiar with the constitutional process, I don’t think you have ever heard that the US parliament had ever invited their president to appear before the House of Representatives or the US Senate unless for the purpose of budget or to address the state of the nation.

“In any event, we also have the concept of executive privilege. The executive arm of government has the power to claim executive privilege at any time any of such invitation is extended.

“It was not envisaged by the framers of the constitution that a day will come where the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who heads the executive arm would be asked to come and testify in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

“I do not also support that. I don’t believe that the president should come,” he said.

Also, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, clarified that there was no resolution by the upper legislative chamber that the president should come and address it on issues of national security.

“I expect that every inquiry as to the summoning and coming of the president should be directed to the House of Representatives.

“We operate a bi-camera legislature. That is why our rules and procedures are different and that is why we also need concurrence from the two houses on the passing of legislation.

“On this matter, there has not been an issue of a joint resolution. What you have is a resolution of the House of Representatives. And I believe that the House of Representatives should be able to tell you why the resolution was passed and what will happen to it.

“As far as the Senate is concerned we have not summoned the president, and we don’t want to get ourselves involved in any controversy whether he will appear or not.

“To the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any planned joint session of the National Assembly tomorrow (today),” he stressed.

Basiru also commented on the statement issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami that the National Assembly has no power to summon the president.

“I am a legal practitioner. I have not read what Malami has said. When I read it, if it affects the Nigerian Senate, I will make a response. I can’t be responding to hearsay.

“Secondly, there has not been any communication as to the National Assembly expecting the president as far as the Senate is concerned. Our resolution still remains that he should hear the voice of the Nigerian Senate that the service chiefs should be examined and dropped so that we can have a re-energized security architecture in the country,” he added.

The House had last week Tuesday invited the president to appear on the floor of the lower legislative chamber to offer explanations on the federal government’s efforts in addressing the challenge.

This followed a motion of urgent national importance brought by the Borno State caucus over last weekend’s killing of farmers in the state.

While the House summoned Buhari over the ugly incident, among other resolutions, the Senate, for the umpteenth time, asked the president to sack his service chiefs.

Buhari’s personal assistant on social media, Lauretta Onochie, however, stated on her verified Twitter handle, @Laurestar on Monday that Buhari will today, Thursday, December 10, address a joint session of the National Assembly on the security challenges facing the country.

“President @MBuhari will address a joint session of the National Assembly (@nassnigeria) on Thursday, December 10, 2020,” the tweet read.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had last week confirmed the acceptance of the president to brief the lawmakers on the increasing cases of insecurity in the country.

 


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