The Presidency said on Saturday night that Muhammadu Buhari could govern the country from anywhere in the world. It stated that so long as the President’s absence was for a short period, he did not need to inform the National Assembly.
The Presidency also said Buhari, while in the UK, was exercising authority as the President since his absence would be for 10 days and not up to 21 days.
In a response to an enquiry on the issue by Sunday PUNCH, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, made a reference to Section 145 (1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution to make a defence for Buhari.
When asked why Buhari did not inform the National Assembly of his trip, Shehu replied that it was not necessary.
He stated, “No, that is not necessary. The President can exercise authority from wherever he is as he is currently doing.
“This is a relatively short absence. If you check Section 145 (1) and (2) of the Constitution, you will see that the law is only infringed upon when such absence extends to 21 days.”
The President had jetted out of the country on Thursday, last week.
Meanwhile, both the presidential liaison officers in the National Assembly and officials in the offices of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives could not confirm the transmission of a letter by Buhari notifying the legislature about his trip as of Saturday night.
When contacted on Saturday evening, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Mr Umar el-Yakub, declined to speak to one of our correspondents.
The SSA on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, also did not confirm transmission of the letter. “I will be able to speak about it on Monday. Right now, I’m home for family and political matters. When I return (to Abuja) I will officially speak next week; I will officially speak on Monday,” he said.