Chris Steven, Abuja
Femi Falana, lawyer and human rights activist, says Nigerian Senate does not have any constitutional power to summon the Inspector General of Police.
This follows the failure of Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police to honour the invitation of the Senate which has generated public debate and outcry.
“There is no such power given to NASS by the Constitution to summon everybody,” Falana said Thursday morning while featuring on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
“It has given the President the discretion to address the National Assembly either jointly or separately on any matter of national importance.”
Falana quoted sections of the Constitution to explain that the President or the governor of a state cannot be summoned by the National Assembly.
“The Senate didn’t get it right this time around. By virtue of Section 67 of the Constitution, the National Assembly or either chamber can summon a Minister when the affairs of his or her ministries are under consideration.
“The only other occasion where a public officer can be summoned by the National Assembly is when proceedings are ongoing to expose corruption (Section 88) and when a law is being debated either with a view to amending it or to have a new law entirely.”
However, the senior advocate stated that the lawmakers can fix areas of the Constitution perceived as weak, rather than going beyond its limits as such actions can subject the institution to ridicule.