|Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)|
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay, has thrown his weight behind the position expressed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, that the House of Representatives cannot invite the President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it.
Sagay said it was ambitious for the lawmakers to “summon” the President, adding that it was against protocol for the National Assembly to invite the leader of the country.
The House of Representatives had on December 1 passed a resolution that the President should be invited to address them over the security situation in the country.
But barely 24 hours to the President’s planned appearance before the lawmakers, Malami said the House of Representatives operated outside its constitutional bounds, a view that has attracted divers views from lawyers.
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, Sagay said, “In my view, the NASS cannot compel the President to come and address them. I agree with the view of the AGF, although the reasons he gave are not the appropriate reasons. The constitution has clearly stated the circumstances in which public officers can be invited.
“The only time the President is expected to come to the National Assembly is when he is presenting the budget, there is no other provision anywhere, which requires him to go to the National Assembly.
“One other point people seem to forget is that the President wears two caps; he’s the head of the executive and he’s the head of state. Protocols demand that you cannot summon the head of state; he’s above everybody.
“He is the number one in the country, so it is very ambitious for any group of persons, whether the National Assembly or not, to in effect compel him to come there without his wanting to come.”
When reminded that the President was invited and not summoned and that he had earlier agreed to appear, Sagay added, “Yes, if I accept your invitation, I can change my mind, so I don’t see anything wrong in that, particularly as I suspect that it was going to be an invitation for the Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers to embarrass him.
“So I entirely agree with Malami, whether under the constitution or under what is sensible to do under the circumstances; the President should not go, he is not obliged to go and he should refuse to go.”
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