HURIWA, AFRIRIGHTS laud Buhari on ex-service chiefs’ ambassadorial appointments
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Association of African Writers on Human and People’s Rights (AFRIRIGHTS) and 36 other registered affiliates have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing immediate past service chiefs- Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar- as ambassador-designate.
A statement signed yesterday in Abuja by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, on behalf of others, said it has resolved to send a letter to the Senate to expedite action on the parliamentary approval mechanisms, so that the newly appointed ambassadors could be assigned to their respective posts to serve the overall interests of Nigeria.
The groups explained that the ambassador nominees, who had served the country with pride for over 40 years of their productive lives, gave their all to advance public good, just as they dismissed criticisms of the appointments, saying the critics are free to say what they want in the spirit of constitutional democracy and fundamental freedoms as guaranteed to the citizens.
They added that the former service chiefs are more qualified to represent Nigeria in a non-career level, because they are all-round professionals who would not betray the country, given that they displayed uncommon loyalty to the Constitution and the President.
The rights groups dismissed criticisms against the appointments as misplaced and baseless, given that there is no empirical evidence to show that the appointees have any problems with both local and international rights and humanitarian laws.
They added that as far as legal records are concerned, the former service chiefs have no pending invitations at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands, and wondered why a section of the media are spreading misinformation and fake news.
Meanwhile, the groups have urged Buhari to immediately appoint a fresh and substantive Inspector General of Police (IGP) to step into the office that by law has been vacated after statutory and non-reversible retirement of Mohammed Adamu.
They said it was illegal to retain a retired Police chief in clear disregard to a law signed by the President last year, stressing that unlike the military chiefs whose tenures are not spelt out in the Constitution or statutes, the office of IGP has a clear and an unambiguous tenure that cannot be extended without violating extant laws.
The stressed that the President cannot violate the clear provisions of the Constitution and the amended Police Act 2020, just as they noted that under Section 215 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution, the extension of Adamu’s tenure is null, void and of no moment, because that section states that: “There shall be an Inspector General of Police, who, subject to Section 216(2) of this Constitution, shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”
Section 216(2) states: “Before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector General of Police or removing him from office, the President shall consult the NPC.”
“HURIWA and our partners agree with the sound legal positions canvassed by some of Nigeria’s constitutional eggheads that when the tenure of a serving IGP expires on the ground of completing the mandatory 35 years of service, he cannot be asked to continue in office beyond his mandatory tenure.
“An IGP who has served the mandatory years of service ceases to be a member of the NPF from the date of the completion of his service. In this case, Adamu ceases to be a member of the NPF from February 2.”
“By virtue of Section 215(1)(a) of the Constitution and Section 7(3) of the Police Act, 2020, only a serving member of the NPF can be appointed as IGP,” the stressed.
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