Court Declares Service Chiefs’ Appointment Unconstitutional

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday invalidated the appointment of all Service Chiefs by President Goodluck Jonathan.


On October 4, 2012; the President announced through his special adviser on media, Reuben Abati, the appointment of O.S Ibrahim, a vice admiral as the new chief of defence staff; D.J Ezeoba, a rear admiral as chief of naval staff and A.S. Badeh, an air vice marshal as the chief of air staff.


However,  Festus Keyamo, a human rights lawyer challenged the appointments in a suit against the President, the Attorney-General of the Federation and all the service chiefs.


Keyamo asked the court to determine whether by the provisions of Section 218 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the President (1st Defendant) can appoint the Service Chiefs without the confirmation of the National Assembly.


He also sought to know: “whether Section 18 (1) & (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 is not in conformity with the provision of the 1999 Constitution so as to fall within the category of existing laws under Section 315 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, that the President, may, by Order, modify its text, to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the Constitution”.


The court however, answered both questions in favour of the plaintiff.


The presiding judge, Adamu Bello, in his ruling, said such an appointment without the approval of the National Assembly is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.


He further restrained the President from further appointing them without the approval of the Senate.

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