•Northern lawmakers move to save the president
Fred Itua; Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The two chambers of the National Assembly (NASS) has handed President Muhammadu Buhari a marching order to shape up or risk impeachment.
Specifically, the lawmakers threatened to invoke its constitutional powers if the president failed to act on resolutions it reached during a joint session, yesterday.
Chief among the resolution is a call on security agencies to redouble their efforts to curtail the sustained killing of Nigerians across the country and protect lives and properties of Nigerians, which according to NASS, is the primary duty of any responsible government.
The lawmakers also mandated the president to take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty, especially now that the oil price has risen to $80 per barrel
While the lawmakers passed a vote of confidence in the entire leadership of the National Assembly, they reaffirmed their earlier resolution of vote of no confidence in the Inspector General of Police, who they claimed “does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerian and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the president and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative.
Both chambers had converged at about 12:35pm and the session lasted for about three hours.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who was a co-presiding officer, read out an 11-point communiqué.
But the session did not end without a drama. As soon as the Senate concluded its closed-door meeting, before it proceeded to the House of Representatives, leader of pro-Buhari senators, Abdullahi Adamu, staged a walkout and also shunned the joint executive session between the two chambers.
Meanwhile, 162 northern lawmakers have begun moves to foil plans to impeach President Buhari.
A member of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Gudaji Kazuare, who spoke to National Assembly correspondents on his misgivings about some of the resolutions taken by the parliament in a joint executive session, alleged that some lawmakers were already gathering signatures to impeach the president.
He added that immediately some of them from the north got wind of the plot, they mobilised and formed a group of 162 Northern lawmakers to frustrate the move.
However, he said the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara have been appealing to those planning to sponsor the motion on impeachment to soft-pedal.
Giving an insight into what transpired at the joint executive session, he said members were unanimous on the all resolutions, except the one that talked about the parliament taking necessary constitutional steps against President Buhari if he failed to implement the resolutions.
“I have never seen this kind of hot joint session. What is the necessary legislative action, what is the necessary action, if not impeachment? Many of us are not interested in threatening the president.
“As far as we are alive, nobody will threaten the president. People are collecting signatures to serve impeachment notice on the president. That impeachment notice, even if it is served, cannot work.
Nobody will impeach the president, same way we said nobody will impeach the Speaker and Senate president.
“Because we want to protect the integrity of the president, we formed a forum of 162 members to make it impossible for them to get two-third majority in the House. When they come for impeachment, we will make sure 162 members are not with them,” he vowed.
Notwithstanding, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the resolution is a vindication of its stance on the Buhari administration.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, commended members of the National Assembly “for their patriotism and courage in unanimously standing up for democracy, rule of law, national stability and cohesion at this trying time.”
It stated that Nigerians would recall that it had repeatedly pointed out alleged “violations of our constitution, unprecedented executive highhandedness, abuse of the rights of citizens and the erosion of all known democratic norms under this administration.”
While it stressed the need to call the president to order through the appropriate legislative instrument, the PDP called on all well-meaning Nigerians, irrespective of party affiliations, to rally round NASS to save the country’s democracy.
Reacting, former chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin disowned the resolution, which he claimed was drafted by an ally of Senate president in the House, Razak Atunwa.
Jibrin in a statement issued on behalf of the Parliamentary Support Group said to comprise senators and House members, stated that the resolutions were adopted without voting, as required in taking decisions in the parliament.
He alleged that the executive session was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) affair, noting that only opposition lawmaker spoke at the session, while their All Progressives Congress (APC )counterpart refrained participating in the discussion to avoid a confrontation. (The Sun)