Nigerian opposition senators are pushing for President Muhammadu Buhari to face impeachment, less than a year before the end of his second term in office, over the country’s spreading security problems, the Senate minority leader said on Wednesday.
In February 2023, Nigerians go to the polls to elect a new president in a hotly contested vote where security and the state of the economy will be the main issues.
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At a closed Senate session, senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tried to introduce a motion giving Buhari six weeks to improve the country’s security or face impeachment, Senator Philip Aduda said.
“Nowhere is safe in Nigeria, even Abuja. Urgent steps need to be taken … we have given the president six weeks to resolve the issue or we impeach him,” he said.
Aduda said the motion was blocked by the Senate president, prompting a walkout by opposition senators. Parliament is controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party and any move to impeach Buhari would require support from two-thirds of the 109 senators.
The presidency in a statement backed the Senate president for not “entertaining the ridiculous motion to impeach our President”.
Nigeria is struggling with security problems across its vast territory, including armed robberies by criminal gangs, an armed uprising in the northeast and a spate of mass school abductions in the northwest.
The government’s information minister Lai Mohammed said the impeachment move was propaganda.
“We are working round the clock … to make sure the situation is brought under control,” Mohammed said.
Nigerian authorities ordered schools in the capital, Abuja, to close on Wednesday, two days ahead of summer holidays to avoid them becoming soft targets for “terror” as insecurity spreads, highlighting the country’s security challenges.
Earlier this month, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) group claimed responsibility for a prison raid in Abuja which freed about 440 inmates, days after an attack by suspected bandits on a presidential security convoy in Buhari’s home state of Katsina.