The Senate, on Tuesday, confirmed the appointment of former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors-designate.
Their confirmation followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mohammed Bulkachuwa.
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, had on February 10, directed the Committee on Foreign Affairs to confirm General Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.) (Ekiti); Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.) (Borno); Vice Admiral Ibok- Ette Ibas (retd.) (Cross River; Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar(retd.) (Bauchi); and Air Vice Marshal Muhammad S. Usman (retd.) (Kano) as non-career ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
An attempt by the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, to draw the attention of his colleagues to a petition against their confirmation was stopped by the President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
Abaribe had asked Bulkachuwa, to explain why the petition against them was dismissed but Lawan said the petition lacked merit.
Bulkachuwa in his presentation said their appointments were made in line with section 171(40) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Their experiences as Service Chiefs and in the military where they rose to the highest ranks in their careers have made them eminently qualified; and that the nominees were very knowledgeable and articulate in their response to questions directed at them by the Committee,” he said.
Bulkachuwa, however, disclosed in the report that “the Committee received petitions against their nominations as Non-Career Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but the petitions were dismissed.”
The Senate President pointed out that the Senate resolution demanding their removal was in no way related to Buhari’s request for the Senate to confirm them as Ambassadors-Designate, adding that, “these are two separate roles.”
“Without prejudice to what the executive will do, where we need to fight the Boko Haram insurgency and banditry, because of their experience in the field, they should be able to interact very closely and sufficiently to advice and create the atmosphere for working together, for partnership and cooperation between Nigeria and those countries.
“So, I think on that scope, the nomination cannot be nullified because we said they should be changed,” Lawan said
The nominees were, thereafter, confirmed after a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, to that effect and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
The Senate President in his remarks after the nominees were confirmed advised the executive arm of government to deploy them to countries where their experiences as former military officers would be required.
Lawan said, “The nominees that we have just confirmed are nominees that have served this great country to the best of their ability as Service Chiefs, and today, they have been confirmed as Non-Career Ambassadors.
“Our appeal to the Executive is to make sure that we utilize their experiences as Military men to the best, because we should be able to post them to countries where they can be much more useful in their engagements as Ambassadors.”