Barely 24-hours to President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposed appearance before a joint session of National Assembly over Nigeria’s rising insecurity, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has picked a hole in the arrangement, saying the legislators acted outside their constitutional powers for summoning the number one citizen.
He added that summoning the President to speak publicly on issues bordering on national security and operations of the armed forces was outside the lawmakers’ mandate and that such was at variance with their role as enshrined in the nation’s constitution.
Malami, who faulted the legislators’ request that Buhari must address the country on the growing security challenges and government efforts at containing it, hinted that the available records showed that the President has done well in the area of insecurity since he assumed office in 2015.
Through a statement released on Wednesday by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the AGF noted that with his constitutional privileges, the President has exclusivity and confidentiality investiture in security operational matters, which he claimed, remains sacrosanct.
According to him, 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.
“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. 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.
“President Muhamamdu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has recorded tremendous success in containing the hitherto incessant bombing, colossal killings, wanton destruction of lives and property that bedeviled the country before attaining the helm of affairs of the country in 2015.
“The confidentiality of strategies employed by the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not open for public exposure in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror.
“The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari was instrumental to the reclaiming of over 14 Local Governments previously controlled by the Boko Haram in North-East is an open secret; the strategies for such achievement are not open for public expose,” the statement said.