The Nigeria Senate, on Tuesday, February 23, confirmed the nominations of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors, among other ambassador-nominees.
The confirmation followed the consideration of the report of the senate committee on Foreign Affairs presided over by Senator Adamu Mohammed Bulkachuwa.
The four former service chiefs confirmed are General Abayomi Olonisakin (retd), Ekiti; Lt. General Tukur Burutai (retd), Borno; Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (retd), Cross River and Air Marshal, Sadique Abubakar (retd).
It will be recalled that President Buhari had on February 5, 2021, sent their names to the Senate for confirmation as non-career ambassadors.
According to the Vanguard, their nomination comes amidst many criticisms from Nigerians and petitions against the service chiefs by some senators. Nigerians had said the inclusion of the ex-service chiefs was a plan to shield them from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged abuses committed by the Nigerian military under their watch.
Minority leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe had demanded that the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mohammed Bulkachuwa, provide the Senate with reports of petitions against the nominees which, according to him, bordered on the integrity of the Senate. Bulkachuwa stated that there was a petition against the nominees but did not mention the content.
However, Abaribe was countered by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who said the ambassadorial assignment are different from that of military chiefs tasked with national security.
The upper legislative chamber confirmed the appointment of the former service chiefs after Muhammed Bulkachuwa, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, presented a report for the consideration of the Senate while stating that the nominees met the requirements expected of them.
“The nominees responded satisfactorily. At the end of the screening exercise, their nominations are in line with section 171 of the 1999 constitution,” the Bauchi senator said.