Nigerian lawmakers summon Buhari to discuss communal killings

Members of the Nigerian Legislature

LAGOS–– Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari is facing a mounting wave of criticisms from Nigerians at home and abroad and that chorus has been joined by the country’s lawmakers.

The country’s lawmakers voted on Wednesday to invite President Buhari to the House of Representatives to discuss a spate of killings in central Nigeria.

Security and media sources say hundreds of people have died in clashes this year between semi-nomadic herdsmen and settled farmers in central states, including 16 killed in an attack on a church in Benue on Tuesday.

The herdsmen hailed from the president’s ethnic Fulani group.

The persistent violence has not only raised questions about the government’s ability to maintain security in the country, it taints Buhari’s pledge to unite the country, raid it of Boko Haram mayhem and puts pressure on his administration less than a year before an election he wants to contest.

According to a release, the motion in the lower house called for the president to appear to discuss the situation in Benue, where the highest-profile killings have taken place, and other states in the region, including Taraba, Nasarawa, and Kaduna.

So far, no date has been suggested for Buhari’s appearance. The president’s spokespersons are yet to the lawmakers’ request.

In a related development, Nigerian parliament also criticizes the president for buying U.S. warplanes.  On Tuesday, the lawmaker said President Muhammadu Buhari purchasing the warplanes from the United States without parliamentary approval.

The delivery of the 12 Super Tucano aircraft by the United States was to be done by 2020, under a direct government-to-government arrangement. Discussion toward the purchase had been on for a number of years.

In his communication to the parliament on Tuesday, Buhari said the approval for Nigeria to take delivery of the warplanes was finally granted by the U.S. government, but with a deadline within which part payment must be made, otherwise, the contract would lapse.

The president pleaded with the parliament to accommodate the 496 million dollars expenditure as supplementary input to the country’s 2018 Appropriation Bill, drawing the attention of the lawmakers to ongoing security emergencies in Nigeria.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.

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