The bill that will empower the National Assembly to summon the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governors of States has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Representative Sergius Ogun, seeks to amend the constitution to compel the President and governors to respond to issues of security or any other matter before parliament.
Although the bill was not debated during plenary on Tuesday, it was referred to the constitution review committee.
This is sequel to the controversy that trailed the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the invitation of the House in December, last year.
The House of Representatives had earlier in December passed a resolution to invite President Buhari to brief the house on the true state of the security situation in the country.
The decision to summon President Buhari was taken when the House considered a motion moved by members from Borno State on the massacre of 43 rice farmers in the state by Boko Haram insurgents.
The debate turned rowdy after Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila appealed that it would be inappropriate to invite the president to disclose the actions being taken towards handling the security situation in the country. The Speaker described it as counter-productive.
The controversy as regards summoning the President went deeper after Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami announced that the National Assembly has no constitutional power to summon President Buhari.
Malami disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Buhari’s Summon: NASS Operates Outside Constitutional bounds.’
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.”
He also noted 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.”