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Published On: Thu, Dec 10th, 2020

Omo –Agege Backs Malami On President Buhari’s Botched NASS Briefing

LAGOS DECEMBER 10TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has thrown his weight behind statement of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, that the National Assembly had no powers to summon the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) over the rising insecurity in the country.
Malami had said this in a statement titled, ‘Buhari’s summons: NASS Operates outside constitutional bounds’, on Wednesday.
The House of Representatives, led by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had last week invited Buhari over the rising insecurity in the country, especially the recent killing of over 43 rice farmers in Borno State.
Before now, an aide to the President, Lauretta Onochie, had revealed that Buhari would appear before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday. However, reports began to filter in on Tuesday that the President had decided not to attend the meeting.
The AGF said security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government and the National Assembly must not forget this.
Reacting to the invitation of the President by the House of Representative, Omo-Agege, representative of Delta Central Senatorial District of Delta State in the Senate argued that in a presidential system of Government, the concept of the separation of powers must be respected.
He further explained that the framers of the constitution didn’t envisage that the Parliament will one day summon the head of the Executive.
According to him, “I am a constitutionalist. I believe that we are operating a presidential system of government. I believe in the concept of the separation of power. We have three equal arms of government. The framers of our constitution did not envisage that one arm of government will be summoning the head another co- equal arm of government to come and offer explanation on the floor.
“I think those of you who are familiar with the constitutional process, I don’t think you’ve ever heard that the US parliament had ever invited their president to appear before the house of Representatives or the US Senate unless for the purpose of budget or to address the state of the nation.
“In any event, we also have the concept of executive privilege. The executive arm of government has the power to claim executive privilege at any time any of such invitation is extended.
“It is not envisaged by the framers of the constitution that a day will come where the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who heads the executive arm would be asked to come and testify in the House of Representatives or the Senate. I do not also support that. I don’t believe that the President should come.”

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