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APPOINTMENT OF NEW SERVICE CHIEFS: BUHARI, NASS ON COLLISION COURSE

There were indications on Thursday that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the National Assembly were on a collision course over the confirmation of the appointment of the new service chiefs.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, in an interview with RPTVBLOGS in Abuja, said the President must send names of the new service chiefs to the National Assembly for confirmation.

Kalu said the new service chiefs would be on acting capacities until their confirmation by the National Assembly.

Recall that The media had on Thursday reported that the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor; the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru; the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air-Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, violated a 2013 judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

According to the report, the judgment, which was delivered by Justice Adamu Bello on July 2, 2013, made it mandatory for the President to obtain the confirmation of the National Assembly for the appointment of the service chiefs.

The report added that Buhari had no intention of sending the names of the service chiefs to the National Assembly for confirmation as a Presidency official, who confided in The RPTVblogs, said the President was not under any obligation to do so.

The official added that the immediate predecessors of the new service chiefs were not screened by the National Assembly in 2015, adding that the new appointees would not be sent to the parliament for confirmation.

The House spokesman, Kalu, in the interview with The PUNCH, said it was necessary for the National Assembly to confirm the appointment of the service chiefs.

He said, “It is trite law that when a judgment is neither appealed nor upturned, it remains our law on the issue addressed by the decision of court. This is in line with the doctrine of ‘stare decisis’ – a legal principle hinged on precedents.

“The Festus Keyamo, SAN’s 2013 case referred to in your question still stands until reversed by an appellate court.”

Constitution empowers Senate to screen, confirm service chiefs – Spokesperson

Also, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, who spoke in his personal capacity, urged the legal advisers of the President to perfect necessary arrangements that would ensure the screening and confirmation of the newly appointed service chiefs.

Basiru, in an interview with The the media on Thursday, said the Senate as an institution would pass a resolution on the issue when it resumed from its current recess.

Ajibola explained that both the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Armed Forces Act, empower the National Assembly to screen and confirm all appointments made by the President.

He said all appointees would remain in acting capacities until they were confirmed by the National Assembly.

He said, “ The Senate is not in session at the moment. I can only state my personal opinion on the issue. I cannot give the position of the Senate until we meet and pass a resolution on the matter.

“However, in view of the combined effects of Section 218 (4) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, the appointment of service chiefs will require the confirmation of the Senate.

“I believe that the President will be well advised by relevant legal advisory unit of the government to forward the names of the service chiefs to the Senate for necessary legislative action.”

Efforts to get the reactions of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, (SAN) and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, failed as they did not respond to phone calls and text messages sent to them.

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