The appointment of service chiefs of the federation was yesterday nullified by a Federal High Court in Abuja. Justice Adamu Bello nullified the appointments made President Jonathan in 2008 on the grounds that they violated relevant constitutional provisions which required that such appointments must be approved by the National Assembly. The affected service chiefs are the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh. The President was also restrained by the court from further making such appointments without the approval of the Senate.
The case was instituted in 2008 by activist lawyer Festus Kenyamo. He had listed the defendants as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and all the service chiefs. Since the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, was not joined as a defendant in the case, it remains unclear if he was affected by the court nullification of the appointments.
Keyamo had contended that the illegal practice of side-stepping the constitutional requirement of Senate approval of the appointment of service chiefs began under former President Olusegun Obasanjo and was continued by his successors in office.
Keyamo had, among other prayers, asked the court to determine whether by the combined interpretation of the provisions of Section 218 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the 1st defendant can appoint the Service Chiefs of the Federation, namely: (a) The Chief of Air Staff (b) The Chief of Army Staff and (c) The Chief of Naval Staff, (that is, the 3rd, 4th & 5th defendants) without the confirmation of the National Assembly.
we thank GOD for this. the judiciary system of this nation is now sitting up