The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) led by a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has said that the new Service Chiefs are not appointed by Buhari, rather, they were nominated.

In a statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer (TNL), Falana said the appointment is inchoate because the names have not been forwarded to the National Assembly for approval as provided by the constitution and the Armed Forces Act

Falana relied on the case of Keyamo V President Goodluck Jonathan where it was held that appointment of Service Chiefs without concurrence of the National Assembly is null and void

He said, “Yesterday, President Buhari was reported to have appointed new service chiefs for the armed forces. Upon a critical review of the law on the subject matter, the members of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAP) have found that the appointments remain inchoate as President Muhammadu Buhari has not forwarded the names of the proposed service chiefs to the national assembly for approval in strict compliance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Armed Forces Act.

“The appointments of service chiefs without the concurrence of the National Assembly which had been the practice since 1999 was challenged in the Federal High Court sometime in 2008 by Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN (the current Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity) in the case of Keyamo v President Goodluck Jonathan (unreported Suit No FHC/ABJ/ CS/611/2008). In his landmark judgment delivered on July 2, 2013, Adamu Bello J. (as he then was) held that it was illegal and unconstitutional, null and void for the President to single-handedly appoint Service Chiefs without the approval of the national assembly having regards to the combined effect of section 218 of the Constitution and section 18 (1) & (3) of the Armed Forces Act.”

According to him, federal government did not appeal against that part of the judgment and is, therefore, an acknowledgment that the judgment was sound. He said by section 287 of the constitution, the judgement is binding

He, therefore, called on President Buhari to forward the names to the National Assembly for concurrence

“Because it was that acknowledged that the judgment was sound and unimpeachable the federal government did not challenge any aspect of it at the Court of Appeal. To that extent, the judgment is binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of section 287of the Constitution. ASCAB is therefore compelled to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the names of the proposed service chiefs to both houses of the National Assembly for confirmation forthwith. Otherwise, the said appointments are liable to be set aside on the basis of the valid and subsisting judgment of the Federal High Court.” Falana said

TheNigeriaLawyer recalls that the Special Adviser On Media and Publicity To President Buhari, Femi Adesina, had in a tweet on Tuesday announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as well as service chiefs.

Adesina wrote, “PMB appoints new Service Chiefs. Maj Gen LEO Irabor, CDS, Maj Gen I Attahiru, Army, Rear Adm AZ Gambo, Navy, AVM IO Alao, Air Force.

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