Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and attorney-general, Abubakar Malami has said the National Assembly lacks the constitutional powers to summon the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari over his “operational use of the armed forces”.
Malami said the president’s efforts on security matters are exclusive and confidential, and as such, “the National Assembly has no Constitutional Power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on the operational use of the Armed Forces.”
The attorney-general of the federation stated this on Wednesday in a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional Bounds’.
The country’s House of Representatives had passed a resolution summoning the president over the killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno state and the rising insecurity in Nigeria.
While Presidential aides including Garba Shehu and Lauretta Onochie had said the president will appear before the national assembly on Thursday, the call by the Justice minister has now put the president’s appearance into uncertainty.
Malami said security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly must not forget this.
He said, “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.”
“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 the 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 expose.
“While condoling the bereaved and sympathising with the victims of the associated insecurity in the country, Malami maintained that national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity.”
By Abel Ejikeme