From the position of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the scheduled meeting of President Buhari with the National Assembly Thursday might have been scuttled.
At their deliberation to respond to the killing of over 60 farmers in Borno State by Boko Haram last week, the House of Representatives had agreed that Buhari must come to the House and address them on how best to solve the heightened insurgency and insecurity in the country.
In response, early this week, the presidency announced that the president would address a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday, December 11 which the country had been looking forward to.
But the latest development from the statement of the chief law officer of Nigeria, it looks quite unlike that the appointment would still hold.
A statement on Wednesday from 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 Muhammadu 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 exposure in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror.
“The fact that President 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 affirmed that the president appearing before the NASS for briefing should be discretionary and not a mandate under any law.
“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.