10 August 2017

Nigeria: Presidency Hails Senate's Stance On Buhari's Prolonged Absence

Photo: Vanguard
The protesters, a coalition of civil society groups, marched to the Villa on Monday, demanding that the President either resumes or resigns.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, has commended the Senate for its stance that the president has not violated the law by staying off duty for months.

The Senate said this in a statement signed by its Spokesman, Sabi Abdullahi, on Thursday.

The Senate was reacting to protests by a coalition of civil society organisations demanding that Mr. Buhari resumes duty or resigns.

Mr. Buhari has spent over 90 days in the United Kingdom where he is being treated for undisclosed ailment.

The Senate maintained that Mr. Buhari had broken no law as he complied with the provisions of the Constitution requiring that he hands over to the vice president and inform the two chambers of the legislature about his medical vacation.

According to Mr. Enang, the National Assembly is satisfied that the president's absence left no vacuum, and therefore cautioned protesters against creating unnecessary tension in the country.

Mr. Enang, who was fielding questions from journalists after an interactive session with law students from Akwa Ibom who visited him in his office, described the Senate's position as commendable and constitutional.

"The stance of the senate is very patriotic; very commendable and very constitutional.

"The senate has always stood right and upright on matters of national interest and whenever there is objection or anything that the senate has objection to, we look at it maturely and we look at it amicably and in this particular situation as in most other situations I commend the senate.

"We thank the senate for the stabilising statement and for the position they have taken because it is the position of the law of the constitution."

The presidential aide said the president was entitled under the constitution to go on medical vacation, saying Mr. Buhari had already complied with all relevant sections of the nation's constitution.

"The president is entitled to under the constitution transmit formal letter to the Senate and House of Representatives informing them of his vacation and until he returns and transmits another letter, the acting President is still in charge and there is no vacuum in the country.

"So all actions of the government like that of the executive, legislature and the judiciary are going on and nothing is affected adversely by the vacation of Mr President since there is no vacuum in the country," he added.

On the interactive session with the students, Mr. Enang said the meeting was part of the responsibilities of his office to serve as mentor to the young graduating lawyers from Akwa Ibom and other states in the South South region.

"We take this opportunity to answer questions from them; we tell them about life experiences we have had; we tell them about what they are coming out to face; we answer the questions and we encourage them to keep the decent and standard tradition of the Bar, that is when they are eventually called to Bar.

"They are preparing for their examinations now, they are young students and I as a very senior lawyer, I take the opportunity of my presence in Abuja and the offices I hold to invite them for lunch, to mentor them, talk to them, answer questions from them and encourage them to come into the practice well prepared."

According to Mr. Enang, he sees the interactive session as an opportunity to also educate the students on developmental activities of the government and the need to always promote peaceful and cordial co-existence among the diverse ethnic groups in the country.(NAN)

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