On Saturday, gunmen, identified as members of the Boko Haram sect, invaded the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State, home to more than 800 boys only school, and abducted scores of them. The students were said to have just finished their night prep and were about to retire to bed when the gunmen struck.
This incident is a replica of the attack of the 2014 abduction of close to 200 students at the Government Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State. Today will make it 2,427 days the girls were forcefully taken from their school and till today, over half of the girls are still in captivity. The attack in Katsina, the president’s home state appeared to be a welcome gift to President Muhammadu Buhari, who was, at about that time visiting his country home for a weeklong rest.
Unfortunately the latest incident is coming at a time the House of Representatives invited the president to come and brief them and through them speak to Nigerians on the rising insecurity in the country, especially the menace of sectarian sects and why the spate of kidnappings and killings have not abated despite the assurances that the Boko Haram sect had been degraded.
The invitation was spurred by of the killing of 43 rice farmers at Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram. Benjamin Kalu, spokesperson for the House of Representatives, had while extending the invitation to the president, said that he was invited to have an engagement with the house on ways to address security challenges in the country.
Few days after the invitation, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, after a visit to Aso Rock, assured Nigerians that Buhari had accepted to address a joint session of the National Assembly. This was followed hours later with the Tweet from the president’s Special adviser on social media, Ms Lauretta Onochie, who said that the president will last Thursday address the lawmakers.
So Nigerians were expectant on what the president will tell them when a spanner was thrown to the wheels. The hunch that Nigerians may have a long time to wait before hearing from their president started when governors elected under his party, advised him to honour the invitation.
The nail was finally put on the coffin when the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said that the National Assembly lacked the constitutional powers to summon President Muhammadu Buhari over worsening security situation in the country.
Malami had also contended that national security should not be put to public glare as inviting the president will put him on the spot to reveal some sensitive national security issues.
This is not the first time, Buhari has spurned invitation from lawmakers. In 2000, Buhari had similarly failed to appear before the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa panel, which was set up to investigate the series of human rights abuses that characterized military rule up onto 1999. But in a rather show of disdain and arrogance for the panel Buhari didn’t turn up
However since the botched visit, many legal luminaries had been on each other’s throat to explain for and against the invitation. Much as the argument has been going on to and from on the legality or otherwise of the president’s invitation, it is our contention that the inability of the president to fix the country’s security since the protection of lives and property is the main aim of government, has made the president incapable of being the commander-in-chief.
More so as a president who has seen wars, the inability of the president to contain the ravaging spate of insecurity has placed an enormous burden on him to explain to Nigerians why he cannot secure their lives. This is expedient; more so that getting Buhari to talk to Nigerians on national issues, is like searching for pin in a hay stack.
A cursory glance at those asking the president not to honour the invitation were members of his political party and cronies, who want to use the invitation to score political points. Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Toby Okechukwu, gave vent to this argument when he said that Malami was only airing the position of the ruling APC.
According to him, the invitation was a prudent effort on the part of the legislature to find a lasting solution to the worsening insecurity in the country and the President’s willingness to appear was evident in his interaction with Gbajabiamila.
Be that as it may, it’s also our contention that Buhari has failed Nigerians and does not have any excuse to offer to them. The argument that one of the reasons why Buhari shunned the invitation was that the opposition members were gearing to throw embarrassing questions to the president cannot be sustained in the face of present realities. The country is bleeding and what all Nigerians need at this time is an assurance from the person whom they have entrusted their life so that he is alive to his responsibilities.
The attack coming at a time the president was at his backyard also showed that the insurgents are getting more emboldened and sophisticated. They want to rub in to the president that no matter what he does or says, he’s a weakling.
News Echo wishes to observe that it is even an aberration for the president not to honour an invitation from the lawmakers. The argument does not hold water that it’s unconstitutional for the president not to do so. It then goes to argue that the present administration does not have the interest of Nigerians at heart, has lost track, especially in the security of lives and property and must abdicate that seat immediately.
We have had enough of the wastage of precious human lives which cannot be justified in any way. Buhari should shape up or ship out.