Buhari with new army chiefs
Buhari with the service chiefs

By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu BuharI has written a letter to the National Assembly seeking the confirmation of the service chiefs.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, said this in a statement on Friday.

He said after nominating the service chiefs, Buhari in a letter dated January 27, 2020, wrote to the National Assembly seeking the approval of the legislative arm of government.

Omoworare said, “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 January 27, 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.”

He said it is on record that this same procedure was adopted when the immediate past service chiefs were appointed.

The Presidential aide noted that 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), the President had written the 8th Senate on July 14, 2015, for confirmation.

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 4, 2015

He added, “It will be recalled that the National Assembly will only resume plenary sessions on February 9, 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 July 1, 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.”