Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says the national assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Muhammadu Buhari.
Last week, the house of representatives passed a resolution summoning the president over the rising insecurity in the country.
The president is scheduled to appear before the national assembly on Thursday but it is now uncertain if he will honour the request.
In a statement on Wednesday, Malami said it was outside the constitutional powers of the national assembly to summon the president over his “operational use of the armed forces”.
“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 statement read.
“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 exposore 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.
“While condoling the bereaved and sympathising with the victims of the associated insecurity in the country, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN maintained that national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity.”
According to the statement, the president’s efforts on security matters are exclusive and confidential, and as such, “the National Assembly has no Constitutional Power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on operational use of the Armed Forces.”
Malami added that the decision to appear before the national assembly should be at the president’s discretion and not subject to summons by the lawmakers.
“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 attorney-general said.
“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.”
Lekki Shooting: FG Full of Denials, Cover-ups, Says Amnesty International
Nigerian authorities have failed to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the brutal crackdown by security forces on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos in October 2020 and have brazenly attempted to cover up the violence, said Amnesty International Nigeria today, 100 days on from the attacks.
Since the assault by security forces, which killed at least 12 people, Nigerian authorities have targeted supporters of the protests against police brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Some of the movement’s supporters have had their bank accounts frozen.
“The bloody events of 20 October 2020, when Nigerian security forces killed at least 12 people during the violent dispersal of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki and Alausa, have cast a shadow over Nigerian society that lingers to this day,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“Instead of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice and prioritizing genuine police reforms, Nigerian authorities have been abusing their powers by subjecting those who supported the protests to intimidation, harassment and smear campaigns.”
Reports from across Nigeria indicate that police violence is still widespread despite government promises of change.
Amnesty International is concerned that the Nigerian authorities will continue their current ban on protests and reminds the government of its obligations under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international human rights treaties to – which the country is a state party – to allow those who gather peacefully to express their views without fear of arrest or intimidation.
International human rights law also requires the Nigerian authorities to carry out prompt, thorough, independent, impartial and effective investigations into violations of human rights of the protesters including the right to life, such as those committed at Lekki and Alausa, as well as in other parts of the country, and to identify and bring suspected perpetrators to justice in fair trials.
“Those suspected to be responsible for the killings should be brought to justice in accordance with international fair trial standards,” said Osai Ojigho.
Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian government to suspend accused officials, pending investigations, and to ensure that victims access justice and effective remedies.
The Nigerian government has set up a panel of inquiry in Lagos State to investigate complaints against SARS and the incidents at Lekki and Alausa on 20 October 2020. However, government officials and the military continue to deny that anybody was killed during the protests while restating their resolve to punish leaders of the #EndSARS movement against police violence.
Investigations by Amnesty International indicate that since the #EndSARS protests were violently dispersed several of the movement’s leaders have been arrested, tortured and their bank accounts frozen. Many others have fled into exile.
22 More Deaths, 1,861 New Infections As COVID-19 Worsens in Nigeria
Nigeria recorded its second highest daily death toll from COVID-19, on Wednesday, suggesting the country has yet to reach the peak of the second wave, as infections continue to spread rapidly.
A total of 22 people died from COVID-19 on Wednesday to bring to 1,544, the total number of people who have now died from the disease in the country.
Nigeria also recorded its second highest daily infection tally with 1,861 new cases reported on Wednesday, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The 1,861 new cases, a sharp increase from the 1,303 infections recorded on Tuesday, raised the total number of infections in the country to 126,160.
Exactly a week ago, Nigeria recorded 1,964 new cases, the county’s highest daily figure ever.
Last week was one of the worst in Nigeria’s COVID-19 pandemic era.
A review of data provided by the NCDC, 11,659 persons tested positive for the virus last week (January 17- 23), which is 18 per cent higher than the previous week’s record of 9,880.
The direct adverse effect of the spike in infections has been more deaths.
In the previous 24 hours, before the latest update 15 people died from the disease.
Nigeria, about two weeks ago, recorded the deadliest day thus far in the global coronavirus pandemic, with 23 deaths under 24 hours.
Last week, Nigeria reported 82 deaths, which represents a 14 per cent increase from the previous week’s record.
Health authorities attributed the rising death toll to late referrals of COVID-19 patients to treatment centres.
Of the over 126,000 new cases, a total of 100,365 patients have recovered across the country.
Meanwhile, there are over 20,000 patients still receiving treatments in isolation centres.
The 1,861 new cases were reported from 22 states – Lagos (773), FCT (285), Oyo (138), Rivers (111), Plateau (92), Nasarawa (83), Kaduna (59), Enugu (57), Imo (57), Edo (43), Kano (27), Kwara (20), Ebonyi (19), Abia (17), Ogun (12), Osun (12), Katsina (8), Bayelsa (6), Bauchi (5), Delta (5), Borno (4), Jigawa (4), and Zamfara (1).
Lagos, Nigeria’s COVID-19 epicentre, led with 773 new cases followed by Abuja, the second most impacted city, with 285 new infections.
Nigerian authorities a few days ago said the COVID-19 vaccines expected this month will no longer arrive until February.
Buhari Laments Inability to Keep Campaign Promises As Jubilation Heralds Sack of Buratai, Others
President Muhammadu Buhari during a meeting with the service chiefs said his regime had not found it easy keeping the promises it made in 2015.
According to a statement by Adesina, the President urged the service chiefs to be patriotic, saying the country was in an emergency.
The statement quoted the President as telling the service chiefs that “We’re in a state of emergency. Be patriotic, serve the country well, as your loyalty is to the country.
“You know the stage we were in 2015, you know the stage we are now, and the undertakings we made.
“We promised to secure the country, revive the economy, and fight corruption. None has been easy, but we have certainly made progress.”
At the end of the meeting, Irabor, in an interview with State House correspondents, said Buhari told them that the expectations of Nigerians were high and they must do everything to meet them.
The North Central Governors Forum enjoined the new service chiefs to evolve in new strategies that will adequately address the security challenges that have bedeviled the region and the country as a whole.
The Chairman of the forum, Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State made the call on Wednesday in a statement while lauding the appointment of new service chiefs describing it as a noble decision by the President.
On its part, Borno Concern Citizens Forum hailed the removal of the former service chiefs as being timely and long overdue.
One of its leaders, Zanna Boguma, told The PUNCH that said the former service chiefs whose appointments were celebrated for being merited in 2015 suddenly became unpopular because of the degeneration in security of the country, particularly in the North-East.
There was jubilation in some military barracks over the Tuesday removal of the service chiefs.
A video circulated on social media captured some personnel screaming for joy and dancing in their barracks over the development.
There had been discontent in the armed forces over the lack of promotion and career stagnation occasioned by the extended stay of the service chiefs.