House of Reps has no powers to summon President Buhari under sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution- Prof. Ojukwu

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Foremost Professor of Law and Ex-Deputy Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Prof. Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, has declared that the House of Representatives lacks powers to “summon” President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The House of Reps had last week summoned President Buhari to appear before the House to address them on security situation of the nation.

In a statement made available to BarristerNG, the Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria stated the summon by the house is an “abuse of powers” adding that section 88 And 89 of the Constitution does not apply to the president.

Prof. Ojukwu faulted the position of Femi Falana SAN, who had posited that the House has constitutional powers to summon the President.

According to him, “It is important to clarify that reaction of Falana SAN on the summons envisaged by Section 89 of the Constitution. Section 89 relates to the investigatory proceedings of the National Assembly. Section 89 gives the NA POWER to “procure evidence…, Require such evidence to be given on oath” and “summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence …”.

“These are clearly proceedings in the nature of court proceedings – quasi judicial powers given to the NA. And the NA is further given power in the same section to “issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend, fails, refuses or neglects to do so…” Meanwhile section 308 of the Constitution that gives the President immunity sates that “a person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either on pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise”. The summons of the National Assembly is a process and can only be enforced by warrant.”

According to Ojukwu, The Immunity clause clearly bars all judicial and quasi-judicial process against the President whether those processes are issued by the ordinary court or any other body and in this case the National Assembly under its quasi judicial powers of investigation. The National Assembly cannot summon our President.


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