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Group Petitions Senate, US, UK To Reject Buratai, Retired Service Chiefs As Ambassadors

February 13, 2021

The group added that putting the immediate service chiefs back in active service could also undermine the war against terrorism through a conflict of interest

An advocacy group, Leadership and Accountability Initiative, has written to the National Assembly not to confirm the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.), his air force and navy counterparts, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.) and Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, (retd.) and the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.) as ambassadors for Nigeria.

The initiative stated this in a petition on Friday signed by its Head of Mission, Nwazuruahu Shield, and copied to the United States Ambassador, Mary Beth, British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, and Ketil Karlsen, who is Head of Delegation, European Union, Nigeria.


The group noted that the nomination of the former service chiefs is "not only vexatious but utterly insensitive to the millions of citizens whose lives and livelihoods have been permanently ruptured by the failures of the nominees while in office."   

The initiative said, "The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a creation of the constitution and a hallowed institution of our democracy with revered powers to screen, confirm or reject nominees, and it cannot be a processing chamber of the executive to "garbage in and garbage out," requests.

"The Senate is the seat of the wisdom of the republic: it has the responsibility to guide the nation; it cannot run away from its own decisions; its resolutions are equally binding on it as an institution and must always act in good faith.

"President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to confirm as non -career ambassador designates the immediate service chiefs: Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin (Ekiti), rtd. Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai (Borno), rtd. Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Cross River), rtd. Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Bauchi) rtd. and rtd. Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Usman (Kano).

"It is instructive to note that the Senate had on three separate occasions unanimously passed a binding legislative resolution for the removal, sack or retirement of these nominees, who are the immediate past service chiefs, for gross incompetence, lacking fresh ideas, and their inability to reasonably prosecute and sustain the war against terrorism, insurgency and banditry.

"It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Senate to reject these non-career ambassador nominees on the ground that their confirmation will offend the sensibility of Nigerians, weaken and lower the estimate of the National Assembly before the people, while the burden they carry by the previous resolution of the Senate will undermine the diplomatic responsibility expected of such noble appointments in the global space."

The group added that putting the immediate service chiefs back in active service could also undermine the war against terrorism through a conflict of interest, should the need arise for the sharing of sensitive information through diplomatic channels occupied by any of these men as ambassadors.

Therefore, it called on the Senate to "reject these nominees based on the reasons stated above, and for more reasons raised by other Nigerians."