The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), says the National Assembly lacks the power to invite President Muhammadu Buhari, to speak on security matters.
Malami, who is also the Minister of Justice, said this in a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional Bounds’ on Wednesday.
The House of Representatives led by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had last week invited Buhari over the rising insecurity and the killing of over 43 farmers in Borno State.
An aide to the President, Lauretta Onochie, had also revealed that Buhari would appear before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday. However, reports began to filter in on Tuesday that the President had decided not to attend the meeting any longer.
The AGF said security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly must not forget this.
“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.”
Malami said the President could freely address the National Assembly when he wants but could not be summoned to do so.
“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.”