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The Gambia: Senate accuses FG of illegal deployment

Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…who protects the bastion of freedoms?

By Sandra Onyekwere

Senate has upbraided President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government for deploying troop to The Gambia without seeking legislative approval in accordance with the Constitution.

The Nigerian Air Force had on Wednesday sent a contingent of 200 men and material resources led by Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, to Dakar, Senegal, with the aim of ousting the embattled President from office.

Reacting to the military action, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, during Tuesday’s plenary at the Red Chambers of the National Assembly, raised a point of order.

Citing Section 5(4) of the Constitution, he said what the Buhari-led government did was against the law.

Utazi said, “I am saying this because of the happenings in our friendly country in Gambia. The ECOWAS countries have been discussing on this issue; on how to ensure that democratic crisis of the people of Gambia are protected. But to add that this country will go on a warfare in another country without a recourse to this constitutional provisions is an affront of the 1999 Constitution and it is a breach of the Constitution, and we have failed even when the Senate has been cooperating with the executive.

“Let it be on record that if anything of this nature happens, that this National Assembly have to be informed properly in writing.”

Section 5(4) states, “(a) the President shall not declare a state of war between the federation and another country except with the sanction of a resolution of both houses of the National Assembly sitting in a joint session; and (b) except with the prior approval of the senate, no member of the armed forces of the federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.”

He did not say whether the Federal Government may face any form of sanctions arising from the said infraction of the Constitutional provision. It would be recalled that the Senate and the Executive arm of government had been involved in some high octave politicking in recent months.

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