By IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Thursday said it believes in the credibility and integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s words of promise that he will honour the invitation to address the House on the security situation in Nigeria.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu has informed journalists that since the House was yet to receive any official communication from the President that he was no longer honouring the invitation, it will be wrong for them to assume that he will not honour the invitation.
Kalu however, dismissed the position of the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice that the House lacked the constitutional power to invite the President, adding that section 89 of the Constitution empowers the parliament to invite anybody to provide it with information from time to time on matters it legislates on.
According to him, though the constitution provides for discretion of the President, the constitution which empower the parliament to make laws also gave it the power of invitation, adding that the constitution also allow the parliament to order the arrest of anyone, adding that this power was not being exercised in the case of the President because of the immunity clause as contained in section 308.
“When that motion was passed last week, the House was rowdy. It was rowdy because some people wanted the President to be here and others felt otherwise. But majority of members, through the mandate of their constituents moved the resolution even against the position of the Speaker.
“If you were there, you will discovered that the Speaker tried to ensure that the House towed the line of using diplomatic approach to it. But the position of the parliament over rides the presiding officer because to do otherwise is to be biased. At the end of the day, it is the opinion of the people that matters and the Speaker reapects the peoples opinion as expressed through their representatives.
“As a mark of honour, the leadership of the House sent a delegation made up of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Majority Leader to engage the President beyond the resolution of the House which was not compelling him or summoning him to come as many put it. It was an invitation.
“The House invited Mr. President. There is a difference between compelling and inviting and the ability to resolve this will enable us to know the true picture of the House resolution. The President assured them and we believe in the integrity of the words of the President having shown commitment to address Nigerians. But the date was not specified.
“There was official communication from the President committing to the position of the Speaker that the President has accepted to come which was a confirmation that the Speaker and his delegation were not acting on their own.
“To that extent, we felt very honoured by the President having communicated his desire to engage with Nigerians especially when his aide made it more obvious that he has shown interest to address the parliament.
“We have not received any formal or official communication from the Presidency. The time now is past One o’clock, Thursday, December 10, we are yet to receive a formal communication from the office of the President stating that the appointment is cancelled or shifted. We have received any communication from the President saying “I am no more coming. All you have heard are from unofficial sources”, Kalu said.