A Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has threatened to sue President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, should they fail to comply with a court judgement which in July 2013 declared the appointment of the nation’s service chiefs illegal.
The lawyer made the threat today in a letter he wrote to Nigeria’s president, the Senate president and the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, a copy of which was made available to tue media.
He gave all concerned 14 days to act on the judgement failing which he would head for the courts.
He states: “Kindly recall that on the 1st day of July, 2013, I obtained a court judgment in the case of FESTUS KEYAMO V. PRESIDENT & 4 ORS, delivered by the Honourable Justice A. Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja wherein he declared that the appointments of Service Chiefs (The Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff) without the approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives is null and void in line with Section 18(1) and (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“Up till now, no appeal has been filed against that judgment. It goes without saying that all the present Service Chiefs namely: Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika (Chief of Army Staff), Air Vice Marshal Alex S. Badeh (Chief of the Air Staff) and Rear Admiral Dele J. Ezeoba (Chief of Naval Staff), were all appointed without the confirmation of the National Assembly. Their appointments are therefore null and void ab initio.”
He emphasized that the appointment of the service chiefs should be done in line with the rule of law which requires the confirmation of the National Assembly, adding that the armed forces must be subjected to civil authority.
He noted that the inability of the National Assembly, with all its constitutional powers, to comply with the court judgement portends a grave danger to the nation’s democracy.
“The most embarrassing of this scenario is that the custodians of the power of confirmation, that is the National Assembly, despite folding its arms whilst my humble self (a private citizen) proceeded to court to give life to its constitutional powers, has even refused to do anything to comply with the judgment when a court of law has clearly given life to that power. It is sad for our democracy,” he said.
“In the circumstance, and the spirit of compliance with court judgements, obedience to and respect for the rule of law, I would humbly require that you direct, advice and enforce compliance with the judgment of the Federal High Court given on the 1st of July, 2013.
“If within fourteen days of the receipt of this letter you all fail to act, I, as a patriot and free citizen of this country, will have no option but to head back to the court to compel compliance,” he stated.