Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, senator representing Niger North District, has explained why the national assembly refused to insist that President Muhammadu Buhari appear before it to speak on the concrete steps being taken to address insecurity in the country.
The national assembly had last year, summoned Buhari over the spate of killings across the country.
However, he failed to honour the invitation after senate president, Ahmed Lawan, intervened.
Abdullahi, who is the deputy senate chief whip, during an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, monitored by Newsbreak, said lawmakers cannot summon Buhari because he is not an ordinary citizen.
Even when confronted with a statement he made four years ago that “the powers to summon anybody within the context of our democracy is given to the national assembly”, the senator admitted making the comment, but maintained that the President is not just “anybody”.
“I agree with you totally that the national assembly has the power to summon anybody but remember, Mr President is not anybody”, he said.
“He is the president of the country and I think within that context the constitution defines how the national assembly will deal with the president. So I think we need to understand this difference. When we say ‘anybody’, Mr President is just ‘anybody’. He is the president of the federation.
“And I think the senate in its judgment at that time felt that, that was not necessary and I think that was why perhaps, the senate never backed it. It was not done to prove any point to show that we are irresponsible, it was just simply to look at the context within which that took place”.
When asked if Buhari is above the law or what he meant, he replied:
“Listen to what I said, the president is not just anybody. He is the president. And when you say ‘president’, that is clearly defined. And I said the constitution has provided the framework upon how we are going to deal with the president”, he also said.
Abdullahi also claimed the Federal Government implemented the 2020 budget 100 per cent, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the federal government was able to achieve this after the national assembly passed the supplementary budget, as well as the introduction of various social intervention initiatives targetd at Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“Immediately COVID came onboard, we sat down with the executive and challenged them to the fact that there are certain things you cannot do. And that we are now having a national challenge.
“So we took money from areas that we know and took it to addressing the COVID. And so within that context, we were able to get the executive to pay attention to the disruption that COVID had brought to the Nigerian economy and the lives of our citizens,” he stated.