By Nasir Isa
Nigerian Senate has distanced itself from the invitation extended by the House of Representatives to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Representatives had invited the President to appear at the plenary to address its members on the security challenges affecting the country.
However, in what appears to be a direct repudiation of the Lower Chamber’s’ bold action, the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, has argued that it is unconstitutional and an aberration for any arm of the National Assembly to summon President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it.
Omo-Agege insisted that the framers of the constitution did not envisage a situation where one branch of National Assembly would summon the head of another arm of government to appear before it.
In the same vein, the Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central), has told newsmen in Abuja that the Senate has nothing to do with the invitation of the President by the House.
He said that since the Senate did not summon the President, it would not want to be dragged into any controversy as to whether the President will appear before a joint session of the National Assembly or not.
Basiru said, “I’m a spokesperson of the Senate. There was no resolution of the Senate that the President should come and address it on the issue of national security.
“I expect that every enquiry as to the summoning and coming of the President should be directed to the House of Representatives.
“We operate a bi-camera legislature. That’s why our rules and procedures are different and that is why also we need concurrence from the two Houses on passing of legislation.
“On this matter, there has not been an issue of a joint resolution. What you have is resolution of the House of Representatives.
“And I believe, the House of Representatives should be able to tell you why the resolution was passed, and what will happen to that resolution.
“As far as the Senate is concerned, we have not summoned the President and we don’t want to get ourselves involved in any controversy as to whether the president will appear or not.
“To the best of my knowledge I’m not aware of any planned joint session of the National Assembly tomorrow (today).”
On the statement of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that the National Assembly lacks powers to summon the President, Basiru said: “I’m a legal practitioner, I have not read what Malami said. When I read it, if it affects the Senate, I will make response. I can’t be responding to hearsay.
“Secondly, there has not been any communication as to the National Assembly expecting the President as far as the Senate is concerned.
“Our resolution still remain that the President should hear the voice of the Senate that the Service chiefs should be examined (and) dropped so that we can have a re-energised security architecture in the country.”