Defence Ministry Receives Armed Forces Act 20 Laws Review Committee Final Report


ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Defence Report) – The need to establish necessary institutions and frameworks to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, including the officers and men of the Armed Forces as enduring and sustainable legacy for the Armed Forces cannot be overemphasized.

This remark was made by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali while receiving the final submission of the reviewed Armed Forces ACT CAP A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 in Abuja recently.
While addressing the members of the Committee, the Minister stated with delight that the combined efforts of the report of the constituted committee has contributed towards the realization of his dream to provide a strengthened and sustainable legal framework for regulating the Armed Forces in Nigeria. He recalled that the Committee was mandated to critically examine the Armed Forces ACT of Nigeria, collate views from relevant stakeholders and to come up with a reviewed ACT that is comparable with that in other developed democracies.

“I have no doubt that the ACT takes into consideration our national peculiarities and hope to command influence in the composition and administration of the military justice system. This is in conformity with the conventions / protocols of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Committee has critically examined some of the provisions of the ACT which has become archaic. The review of the ACT should be in conformity with constitutional democratic principles, global best practices and standards,” the Minister espoused.

He inferred that these issues came up as a result of the challenging nature of the security environment which caused the assignment of troops to internal security operations, counter insurgency operations and peace support operations. Adding, it requires that soldiers should have solid ethnical backgrounds based on human dignity, rights, morality and tolerance. He informed that the reforms made by the Reviewed Committee will go to the annals of history as a ground – breaking effort geared towards bringing the Armed Forces ACT up-to-date, remarking that it is consistent with international standards and best practices.

Earlier in her speech, the Director of Legal Services, Ibekwe who is also the Chairperson of the Committee thanked the Minister for offering the Committee the opportunity to serve the nation. She promised that copies of the proposed Amendment shall be forwarded to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for further necessary action. She intensified that the copies may thereafter be submitted to the Federal Executive Council for onward transmission to the National Assembly as Executive Bill.

Ibekwe noted that members of the Committee comprised staff in the Legal Services Unit of the Federal Ministries of Defence and Justice, Defence Headquarters, the Army, Airforce, Navy, National Law Reform Commission, National Human Rights Commission and experts in Military Law and Justice Systems. She stressed that the annexure which formed parts of their report include the Committee’s comprehensive examination of all sections / provisions of the Armed Forces Act, copies of memoranda and submissions received from stakeholders, the comprehensive report of the stakeholders meeting held on the 30th of May, 2017 as well as proposals containing key modifications, insertions, variations and substitutions channeled to the Armed Forces Act. She identified the newly introduced sections in the Armed Forces Act with justifications and the clean draft copy of all proposed amendments submitted as draft for the Armed Forces Amendment Bill as other compositions.