On Friday 29th April, 2019 the Nigerian Army announced the appointment of Brig.-Gen. S. Ibrahim of the Nigerian Army University Biu as the new Director-General (DG) of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) while Major General SZ Kazaure from the National Youth Service Corps was appointed as a Senior Resource Person to Nigerian Army Resource Centre. This was made known in a statement signed by Col. Sagir Musa, the spokesman of the Nigerian Army.

The statement as it stands suggests that Major General SZ Kazaure has ceased to be the DG of the NYSC and Brig.-Gen. S. Ibrahim is now the new DG. This is quite appalling and intriguing at the same time! This is because the law that regulates the appointment and removal of the NYSC DG is the NYSC Decree, 1973 (now the NYSC Act, CAP N84, LFN 2004) and the Interpretation Act, CAP I23 L.F.N. 2004.

Section 5 of the NYSC Act provides as follows:

“5.       Director-General of the service corps

  • There shall be for the service corps a Director-General who shall be appointed by the President.
  • The Director-General shall be the chief executive and shall be charged with the general responsibility for matters affecting the day-to-day running of the service corps.
  • The Director-General shall be assisted by directors at the National Directorate headquarters and State co-ordinators at the State headquarters.” (underlined and bolded for emphasis)

Interpretation Act on the other hand provides under section 11 thus:

“11.     Appointment

(1)       Where an enactment confers a power to appoint a person either to an office or to exercise any functions, whether for a specified period or not, the power includes−

(a)       power to appoint a person by name or to appoint the holder from time to time of a particular office;

(b)       power to remove or suspend him;” (underlined for emphasis)

The foregoing provision of the NYSC and Interpretation Acts leave no doubt in the mind that only Mr President (and not anyone else) can appoint and remove NYSC DG. For the purpose of emphasis the statement signed by Col. Sagir Musa, the army spokesman reads:

The Nigerian Army has approved the postings and appointments of some of its senior officers. Those affected by this include, Major General SZ Kazaure who has been posted from National Youth Service Corps to Nigerian Army Resource Centre and appointed as Senior Resource Person … Brigadier General S Ibrahim from Nigerian Army University Biu to National Youth Service Corps and appointed as Director General.”

Approval of the appointment on what basis? Which law gives Nigerian army the power to approve the appointment of NYSC DG? This is ex facie illegal and a nullity. This best illustrates the often quoted pronouncement of Lord Denning on null and void acts in the case of Mcfoy v. U.A.C. (1961) 3 All ER 1169 at pg. 1172 that – ”You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there, it will collapse.”  HON. Justice Niki Tobi’s beautifully put his own in OWNERS VS ADENIJI (1993)2 NWLR (pt 274) says:

“One can add something to something, but one cannot add something to nothing because there will be nothing to receive the something. The something which will have nothing to support it will fall away, following Newton’s law of gravity or gravitation”

Mr President should not allow such illegality to stand!

TheNigerialawyer Editorial

Written By Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq

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