There was a rowdy session at the Nigerian Senate was on Wednesday as senators bitterly disagreed during a debate on the establishment of an Armed Forces Service Commission.

The lawmakers were sharply divided over the bill which proposes to establish an Armed Forces Service Commission which was sponsored by Senate Minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Among other things, the the Armed Forces Services Commission seeks to ensure that the composition/appointment of Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Federation reflects the Federal Character of Nigeria in the manner prescribed in section 217 (3) of the 1999 Constitution.

However, those against the bill argued that it will cause more disunity in the country.

Abaribe, nonetheless, insisted that the constitution mandates the National Assembly to set up the commission.

The bill was later rejected during a voice vote and Senator Abaribe called for a division – that is lawmakers should vote individually, following which the Senate later went into a closed-door session.

After the closed-door session, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the entire Senate has appealed to the Minority Leader, Senator Abaribe to withdraw Order 73 which called for a division.

Senator Abaribe then withdrew the bill to represent it another day after consultation.

Key highlights in the bill include:

The Bill seeks to establish the Armed Forces Services Commission to ensure that the composition/appointment of Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Federation reflects the Federal Character of Nigeria in the manner prescribed in section 217 (3) of the 1999 Constitution.

The National Assembly shall,

(a) In giving effect to the functions specified in section 217 of the 1999 and

(b) with respect to the powers exercisable by the President under section 218 of the Constitution; establish a body that shall comprise such members as the National Assembly may determine and which shall have the power to ensure that the composition of the Armed Forces of the Federation reflects Federal Character of Nigeria in the manner prescribed by section 217 of the Constitution.

The function and powers of the Commission shall be to:

Have the power and authority pursuant to section 219 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to ensure that the composition/appointment of Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Federation reflects Federal Character of Nigeria in the manner prescribed in section 217 (3) of the 1999 Constitution.

Ensure that the functions specified in section 217 of the 1999 Constitution; and the powers exercise by the President in the appointment of Service Chiefs and officers Corps and other Ranks of the Armed Forces of the Federation in section 218 of the 1999 Constitution reflects the said section.

Recommend to the President from among the best and most qualified, most educated, and most experienced members of the Armed Forces of the Federation for appointment as:

(i) Chief of Defence Staff

(ii) Chief of Army Staff

(iii) Chief of Air Staff

(iv) Chief of Naval Staff

(v) Director of Military Intelligence, and Heads of other Arms-bearing Security Agencies and ensure that such appointments reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria.

Recommend to the President the removal from office as Service Chiefs and Head of other Arm-bearing Security Agencies on grounds of misconduct, abuse of office, breach of any section of the Constitution, the Armed Forces Act, or any other Act of the National Assembly.

Approve promotion from among the best, most competent, and qualified others as Heads of Military formations/branches such as General Officers Commanding Divisions of the Nigerian Army and their equivalent in the Navy and Air Force.

Provided that in making such recommendations the Commission shall observe the Federal Character principle and adopt an equitable template to spread the Offices of the Service Chiefs, and Others Corps and other Ranks of the Armed Forces of the Federation among the six 980-p0litical zones of the country

1 COMMENT

  1. The bill is a welcome development. The North will oppose it because the present constitution of the armed forces favored them. Put that bill now into vote, you will see that the whole senators from the north will vote against it while those from the south will vote against it. Who is fooling who.

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