The Nigerian Senate has ratified the appointment of the former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors despite pending allegations of war crimes.
The nomination of the immediate past service chiefs was confirmed on Tuesday after the chairman of the foreign affairs committee Muhammed Bulkachuwa presented a report for the consideration of the upper chambers.
President Muhammadu Buhari had quickly nominated the immediate past service chiefs for appointment as non-career ambassadors, after they resigned from their previous positions.
The president’s move triggered serious reactions from Nigerians who believed that the ex-service chiefs were nominated as envoys to dress them in diplomatic immunity to shield them from investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In the report presented to the Senate, Mr. Bulkachuwa said the nominees satisfactorily met the needed requirement for the confirmation of their appointment.
“The nominees responded satisfactorily. At the end of the screening exercise; their nominations are in line with section 171 of the 1999 constitution,” He said.
“That the nominees have been cleared by the Department of State Services (DSS). That the nominees have presented their code of conduct slips. That the nominees rose to a point of their career that has made them eminently qualified. The committee is satisfied with their character and performance,” he added.
However, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the minority leader pointed to the petition against the ex-service chiefs, saying that it borders on the integrity of the senate.
He also questioned his colleagues’ decision to confirm their appointment after calling for their removal while as service chiefs.
“That petition borders on the integrity of the senate; it said that we called for their removal, how then do we confirm them for another appointment,” Mr. Abaribe said.
In his response to the minority leader, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said “The nomination cannot be nullified because we asked them to be changed.”
The ex-service chiefs are Abayomi Olonisakin, former chief of defence staff; Tukur Buratai, former chief of army staff; Ibok-Ete Ibas, former chief of naval staff, and Sadique Abubakar, former chief of air staff.