Buhari writes NASS, seeks confirmation of service chiefs after criticism

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly, asking it to confirm the appointment of new service chiefs.

This is according to a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, Mr Buhari’s letter to Senate President Ahmad Lawan was dated January 27.

The decision comes two days after a coalition led by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, described the appointment of service chiefs by the president as illegal without recourse to the lawmaking arm.

The new service chief most of whom have assumed duties includes: Lucky Irabor, a major general, as the Chief of Defense Staff, brahim Attahiru, a major general, as Chief of Army Staff, Auwal Gambo, a rear admiral, as Chief of Naval Staff and Isyaka Amao, an air vice marshal, as Chief of Air Staff.

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Read the full statement by Mr Omoworare below.

BUHARI SEEKS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY’S CONFIRMATION OF SERVICE CHIEFS.

President Muhammadu Buhari has communicated the appointment of the Service Chiefs to the National Assembly and has sought for the confirmation of the said appointment by the Senate through his letter to the Senate President dated 27th January 2021. This was done in furtherance of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act Cap. A.20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

Contrary to fears expressed in some quarters that President Muhammadu Buhari has “bypassed” the National Assembly in the process of 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 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, vide his aforementioned letter.

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It is on record that this same procedure was adopted when the immediate past Service Chiefs were appointed. 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 nomination 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.

Signed:
Senator Babajide Omoworare
(ssa-p/nass/senate)
Friday, January 29, 2021

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