The leader of the PDP Caucus in the House, Mr Kingsley Chinda, made the call on behalf of the lawmakers on Thursday at a press conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He decried the disturbing rate of insecurity in the country, noting the recent abduction of over 300 schoolboys in Kankara, a community in Katsina State, and the killing of over 40 farmers in Borno State.
Chinda asked Nigerians to shun their tribal, religious, and political differences and come together to challenge their representatives at the National Assembly to live up to their responsibilities.
He urged the people to awaken the members of both chambers of the Assembly to the realities of the moment and rescue the nation from what he described as the road to perdition.
According to the PDP Caucus leader, the lawmakers should be challenged to evoke their powers under Section 143 of the Constitution to commence impeachment proceedings against the President for gross incompetence.
He also advised Nigerians to call on members of the Federal Executive Council to resolve that the President was incapable of discharging the functions of the ofﬁce.
Chinda took a swipe at the President over his failure to appear before the lawmakers after he had promised to brief them on the security situation in the country.
He also faulted the explanations given for the President’s action, as well as the handling of the nation’s security challenges.
With utmost concern about global anxiety caused by the wanton killing of some 43 Nigerian rice farmers in Borne State two weeks ago, and most recently, the kidnap of hundreds of schoolboys at Kankara in the President‘s home-state, Katsina, the nation, including members of the House of Representatives, waited with bated breath for an address of reassurance from President Muhammadu Buhari as he promised but without courtesy and in the characteristic manner of the present government, no comment is made.
It is very pathetic that the APC led Federal Government, in its avowed romance with lies and vile propaganda, continues to demonstrate gross disregard for genuine discourse and democratic ethos.
With due regard to the nation’s mournful mood and worsening anxieties, the House of Representatives led by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had invited President Buhari over rising insecurity across the Federation, climaxed by the killing of over 43 farmers in Borno State and the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolboys.
This contributes to the worsening proﬁle of Nigeria in the comity of nations where she regrettably occupies the third most terrorised country in the world after Afghanistan and Iraq.
Only one gate separates the National Assembly Complex from the Presidential Villa, but it appears easier for a donkey to pass through the eye of a needle than for President Buhari to pass through the gate and address us on extremely serious security issues daily consuming the lives of our people.
Less than 24 hours to the scheduled address over such weighty matters that involve lives of Nigerian citizens in the hands of all manners of forest bandits, international terrorists, unrestrained highway kidnapping gangs, and a host of other anarchists, it became apparent that the seriousness Nigerians attach to these issues is not shared by Nigeria‘s Presidency.
In the past, the sharing of mutual concerns over citizens‘ security by the Presidency and the National Assembly had yielded some positive impact, including huge budgetary allocations for the Presidency’s purported plans to put an end to insecurity.
Indeed, since 2015 when the APC administration assumed power, the National Assembly has conscientiously done all within its power to appropriate hundreds of billions of naira to facilitate the realisation of APC’s core promises focused on the economy, security, and curbing corruption.
We are witnesses to the master/servant relationship between both arms of government festered by the almost imposition of the leadership of both chambers by the same APC government which recently absurdly constituted a joint committee of both arms of government chaired by the Vice President under the guise of fostering a better relationship between the Legislature and the Executive which in itself is an indictment of a government unable to work harmoniously with a National Assembly whose leadership in both chambers and majority are APC members.
This kangaroo joint committee has obviously been ineffectual, yielding nothing positive to Nigerians to date while this APC government relentlessly continues its undemocratic attempts to gag, disregard, and denigrate the National Assembly which is the watchdog of the nation; the citadel of our democracy and the custodian of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which this government consistently observe more in breach.
Do 206 million Nigerians feel any safer today enough to justify the trillions of naira so far spent by this administration on curbing insecurity? Under the guise of enhancing security, this administration has spent hundreds of billions of naira on surveillance of her own citizens which is astronomically more than the entire sums spent by previous administrations in this regard from 1999 to 2015!
Discerning Nigerians and concerned members of the international community wonder whether spying on conversations and text messages of Nigerian citizens has become more important than enabling our gallant forces to curb the terrorism and banditry ravaging the nation today.
A recent report by Toronto’s Citizen Lab titled “Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyberespionage Firm Circles”, revealed that Nigerian Government agencies under this administration have been acquiring technology from Cyberespionage Firm Circles to illegally spy on Nigerian citizens, including media and other organisations.
Circles is affiliated with the Israeli NSO Group involved in the Pegasus Spyware scandal of 2019. Can a government that consistently seeks to crush dissent and criticism of any sort, employs the instruments of state to victimise and punish her protesting citizens, including media organisations, and shamelessly refuses to acknowledge, and even attempts to outrightly deny the unprecedented killing of her innocent youths for freely exercising their fundamental and constitutional human right to freedom of speech and expression and right to peaceful protest, be considered a democratic government or even remotely interested in the well-being of her Citizens’? Let the Almighty and Nigerians be the judge.
Under this administration, Nigeria’s economy is on a free fall, entering an unprecedented second recession within five years of the same administration.
Unemployment and inﬂation have reached the worst level ever in our history; the value of the naira has not just dropped, it has crashed like their management of the economy; security has equally been atrociously managed by this administration as families continue to lose gallant ones on the field of battle while other families daily lose members to bandits, highway robbers and kidnappers, rather than give Nigerians hope.
The Chief of Army Staff on the 4th of December, publicly pronounced that insecurity will continue in the country for another 20 years. It is an open secret that this administration rode into power on a plethora of lies; it’s “technically-defeated” partners are now even more brazen than ever, abducting about 333 innocent schoolboys in President Buhari‘s home-state of Katsina on Friday 11, December 2020 and traumatised for six days in the custody of their captors; ironically the same day the President commenced a private visit to his country home and a day after he did not a show up to address the parliament over the worsening insecurity in the country.
It is also reported that President Buhari who is in Katsina was able to make out time to visit his farm and inspect his cows but did not consider it important enough to visit Kankara to condole with the parents of the pupils and visit the scene of one of the worst abductions in the world which dwarfs even the abduction of the Chibok girls.
The necessity for a national clamour and focus on the restructuring of the nation’s security apparatus and infrastructure, including the declaration of a state of emergency in the security sector which both chambers of the National Assembly have canvassed for severally, cannot be overemphasised but this administration, contrary to its erroneous claims and misplaced accusations, has continued to play petty partisan politics with the issue of security which is the cardinal role of government as enshrined in Section 14 (2) (b) of Nigeria‘s 1999 Constitution, blaming its non-existent detractors and everyone else for its failure after over five years in ofﬁce.
Unabashed about peddling more lies, the APC administration has commenced another round of dissemination of misinformation, claiming President Buhari stayed away from addressing a Joint Session of the National Assembly because of fears of serious embarrassment by PDP members which is a clear ﬁgment of their imagination.
It is unfortunate that at this inauspicious juncture in Nigeria’s history Mr President, his administration, and the APC as a party continue to pretend as if they do not realise they are already an embarrassment to Nigeria and her citizens and hence need not fear further embarrassment from imaginary sources.
It is the hallmark of a true leader to be able to patriotically rally and muster bipartisan support for his administration’s policies and strategies for the general good of all citizens, regardless of party inclination, and not abdicate his statutory responsibility to his nation on the premise of being afraid of being heckled by members of the opposition which several truly democratic leaders across the world have endured without losing stride or focus.
This President has clearly displayed a lack of capacity to do so and instead continues to panda only to party nuances. Members of the PDP Caucus are statesmen, and cannot set out to cause mischief as the President is a father to all.
However, the Caucus will not sacriﬁce the interest of the country on the altar of political loyalty or servitude.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, learned silk clearly erred in law and displayed this administrations disregard for the sanctity of our nations Constitution when he erroneously but deliberately opined that the National Assembly lacks the power to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to speak on cogent security matters dear to the hearts of over 200 million citizens, contrary to provisions of Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which give the National Assembly the power after the passage of a resolution on the ﬂoor of either chamber to invite anyone in Nigeria to provide any information required for the investigation of any issue.
The Attorney General clearly implies the president who was elected under the provisions of the constitution which he swore to uphold is above the law. The Caucus shall seek judicial interpretation of same.
Malami’s reference to Section 218 (1) of the Constitution that security matters remain the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government because of the President’s power to determine the operational use of the armed forces dubiously chose to ignore subsection 4 of that same section which clearly states the National Assembly has the powers to make laws for the regulation of the powers exercisable by the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Do those who make the laws to regulate the powers exercisable by Mr President as Commander-in-Chief not have the statutory right to be briefed by the President on security issues regardless of the sensitivity to enable amend the laws where necessary?
Indeed, in a presidential system of government and constitutional democracy, the National Assembly or Legislature is the only arm of government entitled to classiﬁed information because of its constitutional role, it is only in Nigeria that Mr President prefers to liaise with his appointees instead of those elected by Nigerians to represent their interests.
Claiming the President has exclusive powers for operational use of the armed forces and that security is the exclusive preserve of the executive the Attorney-General inadvertently indicted the President and his administration.
So, it should therefore be understood by all Nigerians that the blame for the insecurity bedevilling the nation is exclusively that of the promise-and-fail executive and with an administration known for the most bare-faced lies and worst propaganda in the political history of Nigeria — an administration that used lies and propaganda to seize power only to declare lesser expressions as ‘hate speech‘ – Nigeria no doubt is facing two more years of forlorn wait for presidential seriousness on worsening insecurity across the federation except we take legitimate steps to terminate the wait, though the PDP is in the Minority, we are entitled to have our say and that is what we will continue to do and that is what we are here doing.
Let it be known that we are not interested in politicking with security, but we want the safety of all Nigerians to be given priority.
The joint resolution of the National Assembly encompassing all political parties calling for the removal of the secure Chief was as usual ignored by the President.
Hon Ben Kalu, the spokesperson for the House, disingenuously postulated last week after the issuance of our initial statement in this regard that our position was the personal opinion of the caucus leader and pre-emptive, considering the expected visit of Mr Presiden.
He should now learn from the unveiling events to stick to his line of duty and not be the mouthpiece of the executive or individual members of the House but that of the House as an institution.
By the opinion of Hon. Kalu, the spokesperson of the House, this is the right time for this call. The President has failed to keep to his promise to honour the invitation of the House.
We reinstate our call on Nigerians across all tribe, religion, and political party to awaken their representatives and senators to the realities of the moment and rescue Nigeria from this “road to perdition“ by evoking their Constitutional powers under Section 143 of the Constitution and;
Commence impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari for gross incompetence and breach of Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution.
Call on Members of the Executive Council to resolve under Section 144 of the Constitution that the President is incapable of discharging the functions of the ofﬁce.
Rep. Kingsley O. Chinda
(Leader PDP Caucus)
17 December 2020