By Olivia Isibor (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – In reaction to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami’s claim that the National Assembly lacks the constitutional power to Summon the President, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, says the AGF was only airing the position of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Okechukwu, a senior lawyer, while faulting Malami’s statement, described his position as bizarre as the summon was a prudent effort on the part of the legislature to find a lasting solution to the worsening state of insecurity in the country, adding that the President’s willingness to appear was evident in his interaction with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
He further said that the president’s sudden volte-face suggested that there was pressure on from the ruling party the APC, which was an indication that the party was playing politics with the lives of Nigerians.
“Without making undue to efforts to win an argument, 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.
“Therefore the attempt to pressurize Mr. President not to appear clearly shows that some highly placed political actors in the ruling party are placing politics over the protection of lives of Nigerians. The APC is evidently fiddling with propaganda and politics while Nigeria burns”, he stated.
The AGF had in a statement on Monday maintained that the House of Representatives resolution inviting President Muhammadu Buhari to interface with it on the rising insecurity in the country was “outside constitutional bounds”.