Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says President Muhammadu is obligated to honour the invitation of the National Assembly.
It would be recalled that the house of representatives had passed a resolution summoning the president over the rising insecurity in the country.
Following the resolution, the president was expected to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday. However, in what seems like a U-turn, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), on Wednesday argued that the National Assembly has no powers to summon the president.
Reacting to the AGF argument, Mr Falana said the president should not embarrass himself by turning down the invitation, adding that the national assembly has the power to summon him.
“On his own part, the honourable attorney-general of the federation has questioned the constitutional power of the national assembly to invite the President on the grounds that as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces he cannot be compelled to disclose operational details of the defence of the country,” he said.
“With respect, the president is under a moral and legal obligation to honour the invitation.
“Having accepted the invitation the president should not allow himself to be embarrassed by turning round to turn down the invitation.Advertisement
“By the combined effect of sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution the National Assembly is empowered to summon any public officer including the President in the course of conducting investigation into any matter with respect to which it has power to make laws and the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the national assembly.
“It is pertinent to note that the powers conferred on the national assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and to correct any defects in existing laws; and expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of funds appropriated by it.”
He said apart from addressing the joint session of the national assembly during the presentation of the annual budget, the national assembly has the power to summon the president to address the members on “jumbo loans” being incurred by the federal government