Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, says President Muhammadu Buhari ought to have sought the approval of the national assembly before deploying troops in Senegal for an operation in the Gambia.
Nigerian troops and fighter jets were deployed in Senegal for the enforcement of a resolution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to remove Yahya Jammeh if he refused to leave office as the president of the Gambia.
Ayodele Famuyiwa, spokesman of the Nigeria air force, on Wednesday confirmed the deployment to Senegal, as part of Nigerian contingent of Economic Community of West African States military intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG), a standby force tasked by ECOWAS heads of state to enforce the December 1, 2016 election mandate in the The Gambia.
“The NAF today moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, light utility helicopter as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Dakar from where it is expected to operate into Gambia. The deployment is also to forestall hostilities or breakdown of law and order that may result from the current political impasse in The Gambia,” he said.
However, raising a point of order on the floor of the senate on Thursday, Chukwuka Utazi, a senator from Enugu state, pointed out the illegality of the president’s action.
He said, according to the constitution, the national assembly must be briefed before troops are deployed in any country.
But Senate President Bukola Saraki only noted his argument, saying the president had at least seven days to inform the national assembly before deploying troops in a foreign country, and that that window had not elapsed.
However, Ekweremadu rose to explain that the constitution made it clear that the president must inform the national assembly before deploying troops in a foreign country – that is, before taking the action.
His argument was only noted as well.
There was no debate on the matter afterwards.