President Muhammadu Buhari has written the National Assembly to sought the consideration and approval of the nation’s newly appointed Service Chiefs.
He explained that the approval being sought through the transmission of the service chiefs’ names to the senate was in line with Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act Cap. A.20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
Confirming the development, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, said that the information was contained in Buhari’s letter to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan dated 27th January 2021.
Through a statement released to newsmen on Friday, the lawmaker said that contrary to conflicting reports on the legality of the president’s appointment, he followed the right procedures.
According to him, Buhari’s letter is meant to dispel insinuations that the President intends to bypass the National Assembly in the appointment of the Service Chiefs.
He added that the president also followed the same procedures when immediate past Service Chiefs were appointed in 2015 after he won the presidential election.
Omoworare said that since the National Assembly would only resume plenary sessions on 9th February 2021, it is understandable that details of the letter may be out till then.
“Contrary to fears expressed in some quarters that President Muhammadu Buhari has “bypassed” the National Assembly in the process of the appointment of the Service Chiefs and that he has no intention of seeking consideration and confirmation of their appointment, Mr. President, upon nomination for appointment, sought confirmation of the Senate for the appointment of the new service chiefs.
“Upon announcement of the appointment of the then Service Chiefs – Major General Abayomi Olonisakin (Chief of Defence Staff), Major General Tukur Buratai (Chief of Army Staff), Rear Admiral Ibok-Efe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff) and Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Chief of Air Staff), Mr. President had written the 8th Senate on 14th July 2015 for confirmation.
“Whilst the correspondence was read on the floor of the Senate on 28th July 2015, consideration and confirmation of the appointments was carried out at the Committee of the Whole on 4th August 2015
“It will be recalled that the National Assembly will only resume plenary sessions on 9th February 2021, when hopefully Mr. President’s communication for consideration and confirmation of the nominations for appointment of the Service Chiefs would be undertaken.
“Before this administration, confirmation of Service Chiefs were not sought and obtained from the National Assembly in consonance with the provisions of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act Cap. A.20 LFN.
“We are aware that in Keyamo Vs. President & Ors, the Federal High Court set aside the Armed Forces Modification Order 2008 (purportedly made under Section 315 [2) of the Constitution) on 1st July 2013 and ruled that the confirmation of the National Assembly must be sought for the appointment of the Service Chiefs. We are in compliance with the spirit and letters of both the statute and case law.”
The new service chiefs recently appointed by Buhari include Major General Lucky Irabor, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao as Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff respectively.