Following continued killings in Benue state by suspected herdsmen, the House of Representatives has invited President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it to explain the actions he had taken to halt the killings.
The House members, during plenary on Wednesday debated the incessant killings by herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of the country, saying the unending attacks had confirmed that Buhari’s administration had “failed.”
The House asked the President to deploy full military presence in Benue State “within 24 hours to smoke out killer herdsmen for prosecution.”
The lawmakers also resolved that the killer herdsmen should be declared as “terrorists.”
In addition, members agreed to shut down legislative duties for three days in protest against the unending killings in the country.
The motion to invite Buhari was moved by an All Progressives Congress member from Kano State, Mr. Bashir Baballe.
It was passed in a unanimous voice vote.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, presided over Wednesday’s session.
On Wednesday 22 persons were massacred in Benue State by herdsmen in Guma and Daudu communities.
This was barely 24 hours after 19 worshippers, including two Catholic priests, were gunned down during an early morning funeral Mass in the Ayar Mbalom, Gwer-East Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.
Presidency Reacts to Reps Summon
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said his principal will respond appropriately when officially summoned by the House of Representatives.
Adesina stated this in an interview with Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday night.
Asked if the President would appear before the lawmakers, Adesina said the House had not communicated the summon to Buhari yet.
“It is a development that just happened and almost throughout the day we have been in the Federal Executive Council meeting. That meeting did not rise until after 5pm.
“So, it was after 5pm when I got back to my office that I saw that news scrolling on the television. That means that the President himself hadn’t heard of it at that time. So, when the lawmakers – the Houses of Representatives – communicate their decision to the President, it would be handled appropriately,” he said.
Although Adesina acknowledged “the right” of the lawmakers to summon “anybody to appear” before them, he did not say whether the President would honour their summon if it is communicated to him.
“It is democracy in action. The House has the right to ask anybody to appear and the President is holding the position as a trust for Nigerians. It is the mandate of Nigerians that he is holding.
“But when they communicate that decision to him, he will respond accordingly. I can’t be talking of what he will do until that decision is communicated to him,” he said.
Presidency Condemns Killings
While condemning the killings, President Muhammadu Buhari described as ”vile and satanic the killing of worshippers and two priests at a Catholic church in Ukpor-Mbalom community in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.
“I extend my sincere condolences to the government and people of Benue State, the Mbalom community, and especially the Bishop, priests and members of the St Ignatius’ Catholic Church, whose premises was the unfortunate venue of the heinous killings by gunmen, Adesina qouted Buhari in a statement.
“This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting,” the President said.
Stressing that the country will not bow to the machinations of evildoers, President Buhari vowed that the assailants would be hunted down and made to pay for the sacrilege committed.