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Senate bill mandates President to follow federal character in appointing service chiefs

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The Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading, a bill to establish the Armed Forces Service Commission.

The legislation mandates the proposed agency to ensure that the President strictly adheres to the Federal Character Commission principles in the appointment of service chiefs.

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The law will also make it possible for aggrieved Nigerians to sue the Commission if they felt that the FCC principles were ignored in the appointment of service chiefs.

If passed into law by both chambers and assented to by the President, the current agitation for due process in such appointments would become a thing of the past.

Nigerians are currently accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of appointing most of his security chiefs from the northern part of the country.

The current service chiefs are, Maj.-Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin (Chief of Defence Staff), Maj.-Gen. Tukur. Buratai (Chief of Army Staff), Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff), Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Chief of Air Staff),  Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan (Chief of Defence Intelligence), and Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (National Security Adviser)

In his lead debate on Tuesday,  the sponsor of the Armed Forces Service Commission (establishment) Bill, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said the bill, pursuant to Section 219 of the 1999 constitution as amended, conferred some powers on the National Assembly.

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He said, “The Federal Character Commission as one of the Federal Executive Bodies established under section 153 (1) of the 1999 Constitution also has the constitutional mandate in Paragraph 8, Part 1 of the 3rd schedule to the Constitution.

“Part of the mandate is to ensure compliance with the Federal Character principle provided for in section 14 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution.

“It shall work out an equitable formula subject to the approval of the National Assembly for the distribution of all cadres of posts in the public service of the Federation, and of the states.”

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