Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Monday said arrangements have been concluded to file a case this week to seek the immediate removal of the nation’s service chiefs based on the expiration of their tenure.
Falana, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme also insisted that it was not legal for President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of the service chiefs.
He stated this when he was asked why no court case had been instituted against the President since his action was illegal.
“I can assure you that it is already being escalated. To the best of my knowledge, a suit will be filed during the week in respect of this matter”, he said.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also recalled that Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), currently serving as the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, had sued the President Goodluck Jonathan’s government for failing to seek the approval of the Senate before appointing service chiefs.
He added that the Federal High Court stated in its judgement that the National Assembly must approve the appointment of service chiefs before they can be installed.
According to him, if the Senate approved the appointment of service chiefs, then the Senate’s approval must be sought before their tenure could be extended.
He said: “My colleague, who is now a minister in this government, secured a judgment that service chiefs must be approved by the Senate and President Jonathan had to seek the approval of the National Assembly in line with the judgment of the court.
“Now, going by that judgement, the President cannot extend the expired tenure of service chiefs without going to the National Assembly. So, when the House of Representatives recently passed a solution that the service chiefs should go, they should have relied on the judgment to say you cannot extend without approval if you cannot appoint without our approval.”
Asked if it means that Preaident Buhari was breaking the law, Falana said “for sure.”
Speaking further, Falana explained that under the Public Service Rules and the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service of Military Officers and under Section 26 of the Armed Forces Act, there was no provision for the extension of tenure beyond the period stipulated by law, adding that it was wrong despite the fact that it had been done in the past.
“You cannot extend the tenure of certain officers while you ask others to go upon putting in 35 years in office,” he said.
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