* Anxiety as federal lawmakers threaten to remove Buhari if…
* Insist President must be held accountable for appointees’ actions
* Pass vote of no confidence on IGP, okays Saraki, Dogara leadership
In what can be described as unprecedented and a deft move to preserve the sanctity of the Parliament and save the legislators from humiliation by certain agents of state and appointees of the executive, the National Assembly, on Wednesday, threatened to call for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari should he fail to act on some resolutions passed on the state of the nation.
The two chambers of the National Assembly after a closed door session that lasted for hours vowed not to hold back its constitutional power of invoking certain sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), empowering the lawmakers to impeach President Buhari should he fail to accede to some far reaching decisions taken on recent happenings in the polity.
Categorically, the legislators charged the president to ensure that sectional harassment of members of parliament by agents of state must stop as well as ensuring the sanctity of the National Assembly as an institution that must be protected.
The legislators also vowed to resist further humiliation of the legislative institution and legislators by appointees of government while warning Buhari to henceforth take responsibility for actions and inactions of his appointees.
The National Assembly further berated the unabated killings and complete insecurity in the land for which the security agencies seems ineptitude.
It therefore once again expressed lack of confidence in the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Members of the Senate at about 12.30 pm rose from a one and half hour closed door plenary and headed for the green chambers large enough to accommodate the joint sitting of the federal lawmakers.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had said the joint session, first of its kind since 1999, was aimed at discussing the state of the nation. The three hours meeting lasted till 3.30 pm.
Reading the 12 points’ resolution, Saraki said: “The National Assembly held a Joint Executive Session today, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, where lawmakers resolved as follows;
“The Security Agencies must be given marching orders to curtail the sustained killing of Nigerians across the country and protect lives and properties of Nigerians as this is the primary duty of any responsible Government;
“The systematic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including Legislators and Judiciary by the police and other security agencies must stop;
“There must be strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees;
“The President must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees and must be ready to sanction those that carry out any act which will ridicule or endanger our country and democracy;
“The Government should show sincerity in the fight against corruption by not being selective. It should also prosecute current appointees that have cases pending against them;
“The sanctity of the National Assembly should be protected and preserved by the Federal Government of Nigeria by not interfering in its business and prosecuting those who invaded the Senate to seize the mace;
“National Assembly should liaise with International Communities through the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA, Parliament, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, US congress and UK Parliament to secure our democracy;
“Democratic elections must be competitive and inclusive by removing the present reign of fear and intimidation particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections;
“The National Assembly will work closely with Civil Society Organisations, Trade Unions and NGOs to further deepen and protect our democracy;
“The President must take immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that we have advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel;
“Both chambers of the National Assembly hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire leadership of the National Assembly;
“We reaffirm our earlier resolution of vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police who 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;
“Finally, the National Assembly will not hesitate to evoke its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address the above resolutions passed today.
But staunch supporters of President Buhari like Senators Abdullahi Adamu and Kabiru Marafa were absent when the resolutions were taken.
Senator Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) was said to have left the Senate chamber immediately after its closed door and did not go with his colleagues to the joint sitting.
Senator Marafa, on his own part, decided to attend the ongoing Joint Senate Committees on Petroleum sponsored three days public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill which commenced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, held a closed door meeting with Saraki. The meeting held before plenary in Saraki’s office had in attendance the Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Reacting to Tuesday’s joint resolutions of the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the resolutions against Buhari’s Presidency is a vindication of its stance on the Buhari administration.
The PDP commended the 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.
The party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement, said: “Nigerians would recall that the PDP had consistently pointed to the misrule of the Buhari presidency, as well as the unrelenting violations of our constitution, unprecedented executive highhandedness, abuse of the rights of citizens and the erosion of all known democratic norms under this administration.
“These are in addition to the foisting of siege mentality on Nigerians as well as presidential aloofness to important issues of state thereby resulting in the escalation violence, killings and daily bloodlettings in our country”.
The party said it has become evident that the president must be called to order through an appropriate legislative instrument.
The PDP therefore called on all democrats, across board, irrespective of party affiliations, to come together, support the National Assembly and save the nation’s democracy from the misrule of the Buhari presidency.
It is instructive to note that the angry federal lawmakers are apparently referring to Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The section states thus:
143 (1) The President or Vice-President may be removed from office in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one-thirds of the members of the National Assembly
(a) is presented to the President of the Senate;
(b) stating that the holder of the office of President or Vice- President is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified,
the President of the Senate shall within seven days of the receipt of the notice cause a copy thereof to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the National Assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the National Assembly.
(3) Within 14 days of the presentation of the notice to the President of the Senate ( whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegations contained in the notice) each House of the National Assembly shall resolve by motion without any debate whether or not the allegations shall be investigated.
(4) A motion of the National Assembly that the allegations be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed, unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of each House of the National Assembly.
(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions , the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel if seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegations as provided in this section.
(6) The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person and be represented before the panel by legal practitioners of his own choice.
(7) A Panel appointed under this section shall: (a) have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the National Assembly; and (b) within three months of its appointment report its findings to each House of the National Assembly.
(8) Where the Panel reports to each House of the National Assembly that the allegation has not been proved , no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
(9)Where the report of the Panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, each House of the National Assembly shall consider the report,
and if by a resolution of each House of the National Assembly supported by not less than two – thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted ,then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.
(10) No proceedings or determination of the Panel or of the National Assembly or ant matter relating hereto shall be entertained or questioned in any court.
(11) In this section – “gross misconduct” means a grave violation or breach of the provisions of this Constitution or a misconduct of such nature as amount in the opinion of the National Assembly to gross misconduct.