Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says it was wrong for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to turn President Muhammadu Buhari’s National Assembly invitation into a legal issue.
Following the deteriorating state of security across the nation, the National Assembly resolved to invite President Buhari, an invitation that the Commander-In-Chief accepted.
But the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami in a statement on Wednesday argued that the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon the President.
The Attorney General of the Federation in a communique titled ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional bounds,’ stated that 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.”
He also noted that the right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is “inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.”
Reacting to Malami’s position on the matter, Governor Wike said rather than protect Buhari’s integrity, the Justice Minister’s statements put the President’s reputation on the line.
Wike further stated that the level of insecurity leading to deaths, particularly in Borno State and other parts of the country ought to have compelled President Buhari to keep his promise of honouring the invitation by the House of Representatives.
The governor pointed out that it was APC members who control a majority in the National Assembly that moved the motion to invite the President to address them on what measures are being taken to tackle and end the spate of violent killings, to which he consented.
“There is insecurity. People are dying. You don’t go by a legal approach to solve that problem. If Mr. President had given the assurance, saying my integrity is at stake, therefore I will go, that decision was not taken without talking first to his inner cabinet.
“It’s not a question and answers session. You go with a brief to address the congress. To say, see where it was when we came, see where we are today. Yes, we have not achieved what we thought, but what we require from everyone is cooperation.
“For me, I think this is not the period to be legalistic. This is the period every Nigerian should be concerned about what is happening. Just this morning (Friday), I heard that 16 people were killed on Abuja-Kaduna road yesterday. Look at the loss of life in Borno State. Senate has said look, Mr. President, relief all Service Chiefs, which means they are concerned about the security situation in the country.”
He further stated that if he were the Attorney General of the federation, he would have advised the President privately and urge him to write a letter to the House of Representatives that he would come at a later day because of the exigency of his office.
To end the spate of violent crime in the country, Governor Wike recommended the creation of employment opportunities for youths and drastic change to the operational system of policing in the country.
He insisted that States must be allowed to be involved in community policing.