Nigerian opposition lawmakers are urging that President Muhammadu Buhari be impeached for the country’s deteriorating security. Lawmakers walked out of session Wednesday after the Senate president refused to allow a motion demanding Buhari improve security within six weeks or face impeachment.
The president’s office dismissed the threat as ridiculous, despite security threats this week reaching the capital.
The opposition’s walkout Wednesday was led by Senate minority leader Philip Aduda, who had raised the Senate motion threatening the impeachment proceeding.
But the Senate president, Ahmed Lawan, who is a member of the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) immediately shut down the motion and moved on with other matters.
He said Aduda should have discussed the motion with him first before presenting it to lawmakers.
Aduda told journalists outside the plenary Wednesday that the decision was backed by a majority of the lawmakers, including some lawmakers from the APC.
Aduda said the Senate has convened security meetings at various levels on a variety of security issues.
“We did recommend to government various steps and measures aimed at curbing these issues,” Aduda said. “We realized that even Abuja … is no longer safe.”
The presidency in a statement on Wednesday night called the threats to impeach the president “performative and babyish antics,” and promised authorities are not relenting on efforts to secure the country.
Buhari on Thursday presided over a security meeting in Abuja.
Nigeria is facing multiple challenges, but security has been the most worrying. Attacks by criminal gangs and Islamist militants have occurred in many regions, and more recently the capital, Abuja.
A prison break in Abuja on July 5 freed hundreds of prisoners, including some convicted or charged with terrorism.
This week, six troops on patrol in the capital were killed in a clash with armed men.
Large-scale kidnappings from schools are another problem, and authorities recently ordered the closure of public and private schools in Abuja to prevent children from being abducted.
A regional spokesperson of the APC, Baba Afolabi, said the opposition is leveraging the insecurity to pursue a partisan agenda.
“Coming up to say you want to impeach the president is not the solution to the security challenges,” Afolabi said. “With the Nigerian setting, impeachment will complicate matters. The opposition will always have its say, but the majority will always have its say.”
In 2015, Buhari vowed to fix security problems if voted in as president.
As Nigeria gears up for its next elections in February, this failed promise to keep people safe will be a major factor on the ballot.