Court nullifies the appointment of military service chiefs

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday nullified the appointment of all service chiefs of the federation on the grounds that their appointment was carried out in violation of the constitution. Justice Adamu Bello consequently declared their appointments unconstitutional, illegal, null and void, because President Goodluck Jonathan failed to secure the approval of the Senate. The service chiefs affected by the court’s declaration are the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh. The court also restrained the president from further appointing them without the approval of the Senate. It is uncertain if the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, was affected by the judgment, as he was not named as a defendant. Delivering judgment in a case instituted in 2008 by Mr. Festus Keyamo, Justice Bello issued a restraining order against the president from further appointing service chiefs without first seeking and obtaining the concurrence of the Senate. Listed as defendants in the suit are the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and all the service chiefs. Keyamo had contended that the practice of side-stepping the constitutional requirement of the National Assembly in the appointment of service chiefs began under former President Olusegun Obasanjo and was an affront to the 1999 Constitution. After Obasanjo left, both the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Jonathan administrations continued the illegal practice.



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