Estimated Reading Time: 2
The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Toby Okechukwu has slammed political actors in the All Progressive Congress for playing politics while the lives of the average Nigerian is in danger.
Okechukwu was reacting to Buhari’s decision to ignore the invitation by the National Assembly to address insecurity in the country and the subsequent support of the rejection by APC leaders.
Through a released statement on Wednesday, Okechukwu said, “Without making undue to efforts to win an argument, section 89 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended clearly empowers the senate or the house of representatives or a committee appointed in accordance with section 62 of the constitution to procure evidence, written or oral and to ‘summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence at any place,” the lawmaker said.
“Therefore the attempt to pressurise Mr. President not to appear clearly shows that some highly placed political actors in the ruling party are placing politics over the protection of lives of Nigerians.
“The APC is evidently fiddling with propaganda and politics while Nigeria burns.
“It is evident from APC’s position as made public by the AGF that the safety of Nigerian citizens would take a back sit in the next few days, while the argument over who is right or wrong unfortunately takes the front seat.”
The House of Representatives had on December 1 summoned Mr Buhari over the killing of 43 farmers in Zabarmari, a community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
The attack which took place in the morning of November 28, on mostly rice farmers in Zabarmari, saw at least 43 farmers killed. About a dozen farmers are still missing since the attack.
The incident sparked outrage on social media with many calling for the resignation of service chiefs and even the president himself.
The following week, both Chambers of the National Assembly debated separate motions on the issue. But while the Senate simply called for the removal of current service chiefs (for the third time), the green chamber summoned the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
However, despite the initial acceptance to honour the invitation, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday cancelled the meeting.
The Chief Whip of the House, Muhammed Monguno, revealed this in a telephone interview with TVC News.
He said the President’s change of heart may not be unconnected to alleged plots by the PDP caucus to embarrass him.
The APC caucus met Tuesday night behind closed doors. Previous reports on the meeting’s agenda had revealed that the APC Governors prevailed on the President not to visit the National Assembly as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the actions of the opposition lawmakers, especially from the PDP.
Also, the Attorney-Gneral of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami on Wednesday said the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Muhammadu Buhari.
The AGF said, “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.”