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During Tuesday plenary, Ahmad Lawan, Senate president, confirmed Sadique Abubakar, Muhammad S. Usman, Ibok-Ete Ibas and Tukur Y. Buratai as non-career ambassadors for Nigeria following their nominations by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Their confirmations followed a report by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Adamu Bulkachuwa, senator representing Bauch North in the Senate.
Before the confirmation, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senate minority leader, had questioned the rationale for the consideration of the former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.
“I wanted the committee chairman to tell us what informed their decision to dismiss the petition against the non-career ambassador-designates,” Abaribe said.
Countering the position of Abaribe, Lawan said although the Senate had called for the removal of the former service chiefs before their resignation, they could still be considered for other positions.
According to Lawan, the Senate’s call for their removal as service chief did not ‘cross over to their nomination.’
“On that call, the nominations cannot be nullified because we said they should be changed,” Lawan stated.
After their nominations, a civil society organisation had written to the National Assembly to reject them as non-career ambassadors.
In a petition signed by Nwazuruahu Shield on behalf of the Leadership and Accountability Initiative, the group said the nomination was insensitive to the “millions of citizens whose lives and livelihoods have been permanently ruptured by the failures of the nominees while in office.”
Chidi Odinkalu, a professor of law and former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), had also said that the nomination of the former service chiefs as ambassadors would not hinder their prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Briefly, this isn’t exactly good news for the former service chiefs. To begin with, to enjoy Sovereign Immunity (that’s what it’s called) in international law), they have to be accredited to another sovereign as Nigeria’s ambassadors. Carrying a diplomatic passport isn’t enough,” Odinkalu said in a series of tweets.