The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), It’s continental body- 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 Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai as well as his other counterparts that just retired service Chiefs as AMBASSADORS DESIGNATE.
HURIWA which endorsed an early morning press statement after a marathon consultative conference of the bodies in Abuja, has resolved to send a letter to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to expedite action in the anticipated parliamentary approval mechanisms so the newly appointed Ambassadors can be assigned to their respective posts to serve the overall interests of Nigeria.
The Rights groups said the Ambassadors 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 the Rights Advocacy groups dismissed criticisms of the appointments saying those who criticise these appointments are free to say what they want in the spirit of constitutional democracy and fundamental freedoms as guaranteed to the citizens but that if the truth be told, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and the other service Chiefs who just voluntarily retired are much more qualified to represent Nigeria in a Non career level because they are all round professionals who will not betray the Country given that they displayed uncommon loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended and loyalty to Mr. President.
HURIWA recalled that the President Muhammadu Buhari in the exercise his Presidential discretions, has just forwarded the names of the immediate past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.
The Rights group said the that in a letter to Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the Senate, the President said: “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.”
HURIWA recalled that the nominees are: Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd ), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Rtd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Rtd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd) just as thee President urged the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations.
HURIWA and other Civil Rights Advocacy groups that met in Abuja endorsed the appointments and dismissed the criticisms against the appointments as misplaced and baseless given that there is no empirical evidence to show that these erstwhile service Chiefs have any problems with both local and international human rights and humanitarian laws just as the Rights Advocacy groups said as far as legal records are concerned, the erstwhile service Chiefs have no pending invitations at the International Criminal court in The Hague NETHERLANDS and wondered why a section of the media are spreading misinformation and fake news.
“We are happy with Mr. President; Muhammadu Buhari for exercising authority in a much more decisive manner by poaching these retired officers to immediately commence diplomatic services to Nigeria. We are one hundred percent sure that these professional military Generals will stand their own in international diplomacy and will represent all of us the good citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria creditably and will inevitably make us proud in foreign jurisdictions after serving us locally in a comprehensively meritorious and patriotic manner.
“We recognise that in a democracy different people will have their different opinions so those kicking against these appointments can continue but all that we are asking them to do is to base their criticisms on verifiable and concrete facts and not on prejudices and unfounded speculation and rumours peddled about in beer parlour situations and elevated to the public scale by gossip blogs and naysayers.
“To us, these appointments are well placed, rational, logical, decisive and was made in the overall best interests of Nigeria and Africa. These men are amongst our first eleven so they are qualified to be so appointed and as far as section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is concerned, the ex-Service chiefs should be granted fair hearing by those who do not like their faces”.
Relatedly, the Rights groups said that President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately appoint a fresh and substantive Inspector General of Police to step into the office that by law has been vacated after statutory and non-reversible retirement by the immediate past IGP Mohammed Adamu just as the Rights Advocacy group said it was illegal to retain a retired police chief in clear disregard to a law signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It said that unlike the military chiefs whose tenures are not spelt out in the Constitution nor statutes, the office of IGP has a clear and an unambiguous tenure that cannot be extended without violating extant laws including the Supreme Law of the land.
HURIWA said just like many legal scholars had validly argued, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari cannot violate the clear provisions of the Constitution and the amended Police Act 2020 just as the Rights Advocacy groups said under section 215 (1)(a) of 1999 Constitution, the extension of the tenure of the clearly retired IGP, Mohammed Adamu is null, void and of no moment because that section pronounces thus: “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 from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”
Section 216(2): “Before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office, the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council.” HURIWA recalled that the Paragraph 27 of Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution provides thus: “27. The Nigeria Police Council shall comprise the following members:
(A) the President who shall be the Chairman;
(B) the Governor of each State of the Federation;
(C) the Chairman of the Police Service Commission; and
(D) the Inspector-General of Police.”
HURIWA argued that no such meeting ever held therefore the extension of the tenure of office of the IGP remains irrevocably irregular, unconstitutional and absolutely devoid of respect for the extant laws of Nigeria.
“HURIWA and our credible 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 Nigeria Police Force from the date of his completion of his service. In this case, Mr Adamu ceases to be a member of the NPF from February 2, 2021.”
“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 Nigeria Police Force can be appointed as IGP. Mr Adamu having completed his mandatory years of service in February 2, 2021, he cannot be appointed as IGP, from outside the force just as we see this line of legal submission as unassailable.
“HURIWA says in agreement with Mr. Ebun Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) amongst a plethora of legal experts that the President lacks the power to reabsorb a retired police officer back into the NPF through a purported tenure extension, which is not contemplated by law.”