Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, alleged tweet on the appointment of Service Chiefs raised controversy on Tuesday.
Saraki, in a tweet on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, had said that “appointment of service chiefs remained the exclusive function of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He added that the Senate could only approve ministerial nominees and appointment of head of parastatals.
Saraki tweeted: “Appointment of service chiefs is an exclusive function of Mr. President. Senate can only approve ministerial, parastatals list etc.”
The Tweet was in reaction to Buhari’s pronouncement on Monday that the newly-appointed Service Chiefs would function in acting capacity until the confirmation of their appointments by the Senate.Commentators who took exception to the Tweet said that Saraki’s assertion ran contrary to the pronouncement of a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, which on July 1, 2013 ruled that any appointment of Service Chiefs by the President without approval of the National Assembly is unconstitutional and illegal.
Justice Adamu Bello had declared the appointments of Service Chiefs without the National Assembly’s approval as null and void because they did not conform with Section 18 (1) and (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20, Laws of the Federation.
Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, had challenged the practice of appointing military chiefs by the President without seeking the approval of the National Assembly.
Keyamo had argued in court that the appointments of Service Chiefs, which are political appointments, could not be different from other political appointments such as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ministers, and so on that require the confirmation of the National Assembly.
Based on that judgment, which has not been appealed till date, former President Goodluck Jonathan sought and got the approval of the National Assembly in January 2014 when he appointed Alex Badeh as the Chief of Defence Staff, Kenneth Minimah as the Chief of Army Staff, Usman Jibrin as the Chief of Naval Staff and Adesola Nunayon Amosu as the Chief of the Air Staff.
They said that Saraki was already a Senator when the immediate past Service Chiefs were screened and confirmed by the Senate.
The observers said it remains unclear why Saraki chose to rule out the National Assembly by allegedly saying that the Senate has no role to play in the appointment of the new Service Chiefs.
However, a statement issued by the Chief Press to the Senate President, Sanni Onogu, said that Saraki was misrepresented by commentators.
The statement entitled: “Saraki clears air on Tweets concerning Service Chiefs Screening,” said that Saraki simply tweeted that the appointment of Service Chiefs is the exclusive function of the President as stipulated by the Constitution.
-The Nation.


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