From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated the immediate past service chiefs for appointments as non-career ambassadors-designate.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari has forwarded their names to the Senate in a letter to Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.
The President said: “In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”
The nominees are Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd ), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Rtd), and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Rtd), as well as Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd) who was Chief of Defence intelligence.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described the appointment of the former service chiefs as ambassadorial nominees as a ploy by the Presidency to shield them from investigation over alleged crimes against humanity committed under their watch.
Consequently, the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, charged the Senate to stand by the people by rejecting the nominations.
The opposition party noted that appointing the former service chiefs as ambassadors would confer diplomatic immunity on them and provide them a route for escape from investigation.
It added that government decision to appoint the immediate past service chiefs ambassadors at a time the International Criminal Court (ICC) has declared its readiness to commence full investigation on allegations them is seemingly a validation of the allegations.