The House of Representatives has summoned President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it and address Nigerians on the spate of insecurity across the country.
- Keeping it real: The odds of President Buhari appearing before lawmakers to explain his actions is very slim. But lawmakers said on Thursday that failure by the President to explain the issues raised would confirm the opinion of Nigerians that the administration has failed in its responsibility to protect lives and property.
Backstory: At Thursday’s plenary, lawmakers unanimously adopted a motion by Benue Rep Mark Gbillah titled, “Resurgence of the Incessant and Annual Massacre of Innocent Nigerians Across the Country by Alleged Bandits and Killer Herdsmen, the Gradual Occupation of Affected Communities by these Attackers and the Lack of Adequate Rehabilitation and Relief Materials.”
- The motion was adopted without debate.
Resolution by the House: A request that the “President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces address the House and the entire nation within 48 hours.”
- The House resolved that it will “conclude along with other Nigerians, if the President fails to respond to the aforementioned queries within 48 hours, that he and his administration are incapable of permanently curtailing the incessant killing of innocent Nigerians by killer herdsmen and the occupation of their land, and have failed in their primary, constitutional responsibility of ensuring the security and welfare of the citizens of Nigeria.”
- The House also resolved to constitute a committee to interface with the Presidency regarding the queries, while also engaging with the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Chief of Defence Staff and other Service Chiefs; Chairman and Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, related state governments and relevant stakeholders.
Why it matters: This is not the first time lawmakers have summoned the president. Generally, he just ignores it.
- In April 2018, exactly a year ago, lawmakers summoned President Buhari following a motion sponsored once again by Hon. Gbillah. That week, 41 people had been killed by herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa. Lawmakers also passed a motion of no confidence on the security chiefs and called for their replacement.
- Nothing happened: Buhari did not show up. Service chiefs were not fired. Insecurity has not subsided.
- So this, in a way, is deja vu. However, it does not take away from the importance of the action by the Reps. Nigerians demand answers, and lawmakers representing the people need to show that they understand the stakes, and hopefully stay on the matter until acceptable action is carried out.