ARTICLE
3 August 2021

Can The National Assembly Summon The President Of Nigeria Under Its Constitutional Oversight Functions?

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Fred-Young & Evans

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Following the outcry on incessant killings in Nigeria, recently, members of the House of Representative during its plenary made a resolution to invite the President of Nigeria to address it on the present insecurity in Nigeria ...
Nigeria Government, Public Sector
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Following the outcry on incessant killings in Nigeria, recently, members of the House of Representative during its plenary made a resolution to invite the President of Nigeria to address it on the present insecurity in Nigeria and also to inform them of the modalities that has been put in place to combat and curtail the brazen activities of bandits, hoodlums and terrorists.

Upon receipt of the resolution of the House of Representatives, the President accepted the invitation and announced that he would address the House of Representatives. However, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation was reported to have questioned the constitutional powers of the House of Representative to invite the President and contended that since the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the National Assembly cannot compel the President to appear before it to disclose operational details of the defence of Nigeria.

It is upon this premise that we commenced Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/2021; Emmanuel Ekpenyong v. The President Federal Republic of Nigeria & 2 Ors. before the Federal High Court, Abuja Division for the Court to determine;

  1. Whether the Plaintiff has locus standi to institute this proceeding?
  2. Whether the President falls within the description of "any person in Nigeria" as provided in Sections 88 (1) (b) and 89 (1) (c) and (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and subject to the summon of the National Assembly?
  3. Whether Sections 88 and 89 of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) empowers the National Assembly to summon the President to its Chambers to give information and answer questions on the steps taken to stop the incessant killing of persons in Nigeria?
  4. Whether the Plaintiff has disclosed a reasonable cause of action against the Defendants to warrant him to institute this action against them?

The suit is listed for mention on 22nd November 2021 before Justice Binta Nyako, Court 2, Federal High Court, Abuja Division.

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