By Babajide Okeowo
The Presidency and House of Representatives are heading for a fresh showdown as the latter has refuted media reports that it had apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari or the Presidency for inviting him earlier in the month to brief it on the escalating insecurity situation in the country.
In a statement titled “Clarification on Apology to the Presidency” dated December 28, 2020, issued by its Spokesman and Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Kalu said the House of Reps never apologized to anyone for doing its constitutional duties.
“It has come to the knowledge of the House that few sections of the media reported that the House apologized to the Presidency over the resolution of the House which arose from the motion sponsored by members from Borno State, requesting for the invitation of the President to brief the nation on the state of insecurity in the country.
The President, or the Presidency as the case may be, never sought an apology from the House of Representatives for carrying out her constitutional responsibility to the Nigerian electorate.
Where then did the media get the report that the House as an institution apologized to anyone? Media professionals are advised to uphold the ethics of their profession.
For the avoidance of doubt, the House never apologized to anyone for exercising her constitutional mandate and the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila will not do anything to desecrate or destroy the critical institution of democracy – the Legislature. We strongly believe that
President Muhammadu Buhari subscribes to this democratic ethos and ideals as well”, Kalu said in the statement.
It will be recalled that the House had on December 1, through a motion collectively sponsored by all the Borno State lawmakers on the heels of the massacre of over 43 rice farmers in Zarbamari village, passed a resolution inviting the President for the security briefing.
It will also be recalled that the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila later conveyed the resolution to the president and also secured his commitment to honour the invite.
Then December 10 was fixed for the president’s appearance. But barely 24 hours to the time, the President reneged on his promise to appear before the legislature.
This was apparently prompted by a statement credited to the minister of justice and Attorney-General of the federation, Abubakar Malami that the national assembly lacked the constitutional powers to summon the president on security matters.
Before the House formally adjourned last week for the Christmas holidays, its Spokesman, Hon. Benjamin Kalu at a press briefing stated that the House was still awaiting official communication from the Presidency as to why Buhari failed to honour the invitation of the parliament.
Recall also that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had in a statement declared that the House of Reps lacked the jurisdiction to invite the President.