OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has commenced screening of nominees for the positions of service chiefs, including the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff for the Armed Forces of the Federation.

The screening held on Wednesday in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Declaring the event open, chairman of the joint committee, Mr. Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said the parliament would engage the service chiefs robustly and constructively going forward.

“Chapter Two of our Constitution affirms that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Working with the Executive; this House of Representatives intends to ensure that the government lives up to this noble creed. This is why we plan to engage robustly but also constructively with the nominees and if confirmed provide them with all the support they will need to succeed,” he said, adding:

“The essence of the framers of our Constitution requiring the Service Chiefs to be confirmed by the National Assembly is to reiterate the supremacy of civil authority over the military in a constitutional democracy.  We shall therefore take our role very seriously and we intend to discharge our responsibilities diligently on behalf of Nigerians.”

The chairman emphasized the need for the National Assembly and of course the Executive to ensure persons whom have been picked have the capacity to tackle the security menace bedeviling the country.

“Nigeria as a country is blessed with brave and gallant soldiers; many of whom have paid the ultimate price in service to the country. It is to their memories that we must get it right with our National Security and help secure the peace for which they gave their lives.

“We are therefore here today to perform the screening exercise of the nominees as part of the legal confirmation process. From the inception of this 9th House of Representatives, National Security has been discussed more than 200 times at plenary. Yet the nation is still grappling with diverse and increasing security challenges, despite some successes recorded by the gallant men and women of our Armed Forces. While I appreciate there is no single magic solution, I believe the kind of leadership provided to our Armed Forces is part of the solution mix.”

Also the lawmaker disclosed that the service chiefs will be grilled based on professionalism, funding of the military and strategic knowledge and vision of the environment they intend to secure.

“We are aware of the many sensitivities around National Security matters and because of our desire to robustly engage the nominees to a good level of granularity across many subject areas; we have decided to conduct these vigorous exchanges behind closed doors. This will not only help protect national security, but more importantly also give the nominee the freedom to respond more adequately, comprehensively and expansively without any fear of an unwitting exposure of sensitive information”, he noted.

“Over the next days, we will compile our notes, deliberate fully and extensively as a committee and submit our report and recommendations to Plenary next week.

“It is my hope that the frank and constructive engagement we will have today with the nominees will be the flavour of future encounters and will continue if they are confirmed by the National Assembly. National Security requires an all government approach. We in the House of Representatives will continue to engage constructively with the government and provide any support needed to strengthen the hands of our gallant men and women in uniform to successfully secure this nation and provide the peace and stability needed for economic growth and development of our country.”

Recall that the House of Representatives at its plenary on 10th February 2021, read a request from Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief informing of the nomination of Major-General Lucky E.O Irabor, Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and Air Vice Marshal Ishiaka Oladayo Amao, for appointment as Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff for the Armed Forces of the Federation, respectively.

The screening exercise is in pursuant of that request.


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