Buhari’s invitation: We didn’t apologise, say Reps

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The House of Representatives has denied speculations that it apologised to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), or anybody in the Presidency for inviting him to address Nigerians on the growing insecurity in the country.

Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, issued the denial in a statement titled, ‘Clarification on Apology to the Presidency,’ in Abuja, on Monday.

The statement was a reaction to a report that the House withdrew its invitation to the President and that those who sponsored the motion calling for Buhari’s invitation had apologised to him.

Kalu, however, faulted the claim.

The statement reads partly, “The President or the Presidency, as the case may be, never sought an apology from the House of Representatives for carrying out its constitutional responsibility to the Nigerian electorate. Where then did the media get the report that the House as an institution apologise to anyone? Media professionals are advised to uphold the ethics of their profession.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the House never apologised to anyone for exercising its constitutional mandate and the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila will not do anything to desecrate or destroy the critical institution of democracy – the legislature. We strongly believe that President Muhammadu Buhari subscribes to these democratic ethos and ideals as well.”

The House had earlier in December invited Buhari after debating the killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had met with the President and told journalists that Buhari had agreed to appear before a joint session of the National Assembly.

However, days later the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), issued a statement, saying the National Assembly lacked the powers to summon the President to speak on security matters, a claim that generated wide criticisms.

On December 10, the day Buhari was expected to appear before the lawmakers, a member of the House, Solomon Bob, had raised a point of order to protest against the alleged shunning of the invitation.

Gbajabiamila had, however, stated that Buhari was invited and not summoned, stressing that he was to engage the lawmakers in a dialogue and was not compelled to appear before them.

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