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Senate Confirms Nomination Of Ex-Service Chiefs As Ambassadors

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors, despite criticisms in some quarters.

The Senate Minority Leader Enyinaya Abaribe, however, questioned the nomination and confirmation of the ex-service chiefs when the Senate had on three different occasions called for their sack.

Senator Abaribe also questioned why the petitions against the former service chiefs were dismissed without explanations.

But Senate President Ahmad Lawan dismissed Senator Abaribe’s concerns, ruling that the nomination of the former service chiefs cannot be nullified simply because the upper chamber had called for their sack, noting that this is totally a different assignment.

The Senate President promptly stopped any further debate on the matter.

In his concluding statement, Senator Lawan added that the former service chiefs have served the country to the best of their abilities.

He urged the Executive to utilise their experiences as much as possible and they should be posted to countries where they will be useful.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 4, nominated the immediate past service chiefs of the nation as ambassadors.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement.

They are former Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas.

Others are former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the former Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Usman.

Adesina revealed that President Buhari has forwarded the names of the nominees to the Senate as non-career ambassadors-designate.

In a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, the President was quoted as saying “In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”

President Buhari appealed to the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations.

The former service chiefs were appointed as non-career ambassadors-designate a week after their replacement with new officers.

They were said to have tendered their resignation from their positions amid heightened calls that they should be sacked due to the disturbing rate of insecurity in the country.

On February 18, the former service were screened by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The committee which was led by Senator Mohammed Bulkachuwa held a closed-session before the service chiefs were ushered into the room for the commencement of the screening.

The former Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin was the first to be screened. He spoke on insecurity in the country and warned that the next warfare and crisis in the country will be in the forests.

He explained that research which he conducted on forests three years ago shows that Nigeria has over 1,000 forest reserves and there is an urgent need to man and protect the forests which have become hideouts for criminals.

The Former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai during his screening also spoke concerning the security crisis in the country.

He lamented that the terrorists have permeated the society and won the communities to their side.

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