President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly seeking the confirmation of the appointment of the recently announced Service Chiefs.
This was contained in a letter to the Senate President dated 27th January 2021.
The request for a confirmation is in furtherance of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act Cap. A.20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
President Buhari 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.
Some Nigerians had expressed fears that President Muhammadu Buhari has “bypassed” the National Assembly in the process of appointment of the Service Chiefs and that the president had no intention of seeking consideration and confirmation of their appointment.
This is the same procedure that 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 to the 8th Senate on July 14, 2015, for confirmation. Whilst the correspondence was read on the floor of the Senate on July 28, 2015, consideration and confirmation of the appointments was carried out at the Committee of the Whole on August 14, 2015
It is however worthy of note, that the National Assembly is presently on vacation and will only resume plenary sessions on February 9, 2021, at which time the President’s request for consideration and confirmation of the nomination for appointment of the Service Chiefs can be taken.
Prior to this administration, confirmation of Service Chiefs was 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.
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. The Senate is in compliance with the spirit and letters of both the statute and case law.
Senator Babajide Omoworare