Nigeria: National Assembly's Nod Not Required for Buhari to Deploy Army, Say Senators

A protester stands on a police structure in Ikeja, capital of Lagos state, during #EndSARS demonstrations on October 11, 2020. Ayodeji Adegoroye (@ayodeji_dodo)/Twitter
19 October 2020

Abuja — Some members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly have said that President Muhammadu Buhari would not require the approval of the legislature to deploy soldiers to quell the EndSARS protests across the country.

Three Senators across party divides who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity in the wake of the closed-door meeting held yesterday between President Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly over the EndSARS protests, ruled out the possibility of the Executive approaching the legislative arm to seek its nod to roll out army tanks and personnel to stop the EndSARS nationwide protests.

The three senators, including a female senator were unanimous in ruling out any legislative order to end the crisis caused by the excesses of the disbanded Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which culminated in the EndSARS protests sustained in the last 11 days by youths in different parts of the country.

A ranking senator said that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

made it very clear that the President as Commander-in -Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces is at liberty to deploy soldiers to any part of the country with a view to maintaining law and order.

He said: " So, the President can send military to any part of the country without recourse to the National Assembly if he feels there is the need for soldiers to complement the efforts of the policemen where there is breakdown of law and order.

The Senator added for emphasis that it is only when the nation is at war or a state of emergency is being declared that the President requires the express approval of the National Assembly to deploy troops.

"Thank God Nigeria is not in a state of emergency or war. It is when a nation is faced with any of the two aforementioned instances that the President will now seek the go-ahead from the legislative arm to take action. All these are clearly stated in the 1999 constitution of the country".

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