President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the names of the immediate past service chiefs as well one other retired officer to the Senate for confirmation as non-career ambassadors-designate.
The former service chiefs – Gen. Abayomi G. Olonisakin (retd.), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Y. Buratai (retd.), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (retd.), and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.) – were in office for almost six years until last Tuesday.
A statement on Thursday in Abuja by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the presidential request to the Senate also included the name of a retired Chief of Defense Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (retd.).
“President Buhari has forwarded the names of the immediate past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career ambassadors-designate.
“In a letter to Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the Senate, the President said: ‘In accordance with Section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, I have the honor to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five names of nominees as non-career ambassadors-designate’.
“The nominees are: Gen. Abayomi G. Olonisakin (retd.), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Y. Buratai (retd.), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (retd.), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (retd.).
“The President urged the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations,” the statement said.
But the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday said the President’s nomination of the former service chiefs was a decoy to shield them from criminal investigation for alleged crimes against humanity during their tenure.
In a statement by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition said: “It is shocking that instead of allowing the former service chiefs to answer for the alleged crime against humanity under their command, including reported cases of extra-judicial execution, killing of unarmed protesters at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos, rape, illegal arrests as well as detention and torture of innocent Nigerians, the APC administration is rather plotting their escape.
“The accused service chiefs must not be allowed to use diplomatic immunity to escape investigation and possible prosecution for the killing of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate and other parts of the country as well as the hundreds of civilians reportedly killed by soldiers in the Zaria massacre…”