The appointment of new service chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari has been described as illegal and unconstitutional by a famous human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).
In a statement on Wednesday, Falana said Buhari was wrong to have announced the appointment of new service chiefs without the approval of the National Assembly.
Following the resignation of the former service chiefs, President Buhari on Tuesday, announced the appointment of new service chiefs to replace them.
But, the human rights lawyer, who faulted the appointment based on a 2013 judgment, said that Buhari had only nominated the service chiefs.
Falana’s statement read in part, “Yesterday (Tuesday), 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 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 Falana, the 2013 judgement, which was never challenged by federal government remains binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of section 287 of the constitution.
He, therefore, asked Buhari to forward the names of the new service chiefs to the federal lawmakers for confirmation in accordance to the law of the land.