Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN has disclosed on Wednesday, December 9 National assembly has no power to summon President Mohammedu Buhari.
- The AGF, Malami SAN, is correct in his view.
- This discretion is consistent with the presidential system of government.
- The National Assembly has powers to impeach the President but doesn’t have powers to summon the President
A few minutes after the AGF, Malami SAN made the statement, some Nigerians, however, took to the social media to tackled him.
Can National assembly summon the President?
The National Assembly has no power to compel President Buhari to appear before them, Inibehe Effiong reacted. This is based on Section 67 (1) of the 1999 Constitution which gives the president a discretion whether to attend the National Assembly or not.
Sec 67(1) states thus:
“The President MAY attend any joint meeting of the National Assembly or any meeting of either House of the National Assembly, either to deliver an address on national affairs, including fiscal measures or to make such statement on the policy of the government as he considers to be of national importance.”
The operative word in this provision is MAY. The word may in law conveys discretion; unlike the word SHALL which conveys a mandatory or compulsory meaning.
Furthermore, resolutions of the National Assembly does not have binding force. National Assembly can only exercise compulsive powers through lawmaking as provided for in Section 58 and 59 of the Constitution. The National Assembly cannot issue a warrant for the President’s arrest.
Section 308 (1) (b) of the Constitution gives the president, vice president, governors and their deputies immunity from arrest and imprisonment.
However, under Section 67 (2) of the Constitution, the National Assembly can compel a Minister’s attendance.
It states thus: “A Minister of the Government of the Federation shall attend either House of the National Assembly if invited to explain to the House the conduct of his Ministry and in particular when the affairs of that Ministry are under discussion.” The word used is SHALL.
Notwithstanding the above, the National Assembly can invoke its powers under Section 143 of the Constitution by impeaching President Buhari for gross misconduct for failing terribly in the paramount duty of the government; which is a provision of security to the people of Nigeria.
Rather than grandstand over Buhari’s disregard for their resolution, the National Assembly should save the Nigerian people from the disaster that the Buhari regime has become by impeaching Buhari. The current National Assembly has been an accomplice in Buhari’s gross failings.
They should now realize that no serious-minded person will regard them so long as they continue to defend, justify and support the lawlessness, failures and impunity of the Buhari regime. They should remove Buhari if they are serious about their role.
The time to act is now, he said.