President Muhammadu Buhari has written to Senate President Bukola Saraki, seeking the screening and confirmation of the Service Chiefs one week after they were installed.
The Service Chiefs to be screened are: the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj-Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin; the Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai; the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The National Security Adviser, NSA, Maj Gen Babagana Monguno and the Director of Department for State Security Services, DSS, Mallam Lawal Daura, both do not need the screening of the Senate because it is under the prerogative of the President to make such nominees.
The President said the new appointments were made in line with the Armed Forces Act 2004.
In the letter, he specifically sought the “confirmation of the following nominees for appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs for the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with Section 18(1) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A. 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
The section reads: “The President may, upon consultation with the Chief of Defence Staff and subject to confirmation by the National Assembly, appoint such officers (in this Act referred to as ‘Service Chiefs’) as he thinks fit in whom the command of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as the case may be, and their Reserves shall be vested.”
A source in the Presidency said Buhari was also exercising his power as enshrined in Section 218 (2) of the Constitution
The section reads: “The powers conferred on the President by subsection (1) of this section shall include power to appoint the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Air Staff and heads of any other branches of the armed forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly.”
According to the informed source “What the President has done on the Service Chiefs was to comply with the law in line with his promise to Nigerians.
- “And you will recall that a retired judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Bello, on July 1, 2013 ruled that the appointment of Service Chiefs is subject to confirmation by the Senate.”
But as at press time, it was learnt that the screening and confirmation of the new Service Chiefs may have to wait till the return of Senators from recess on July 28
Another source said that the Senate will screen the new Service chiefs in camera.
- “The security nature of the screening is the reason why the Senate will not screen the Service Chiefs on the floor of the house,” a top source in the presidency said.
One of the senators close to the Senate President’s Office told press men that Saraki will on the floor of the upper legislative chamber when the National Assembly reconvenes on July 28, read a communication from President Buhari seeking the confirmation of the Service chiefs.
The Senator noted that after reading the presidential memo containing the names of the nominated Service chiefs, Saraki will proceed to set up an ad-hoc screening committee.
Setting up ad-hoc committee to screen the Service chiefs, he explained, became necessary in the absence of Standing Senate Committees.
He noted that the Senate Joint Committee on Defence and Army, Air Force, Navy, National Security and Intelligence, would have been mandated to screen the Service chiefs if they had been constituted.
On the members of the screening panel, the source said “those that will screen the Military chiefs are purely at the discretion of the Senate President.”
He said that there is no controversy over the screening of the Service chiefs, pointing out that the Senate will not shy away from performing their constitutional duties.
Source: Post Nigeria
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