The Senate said it was going to convince the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to sack the military chiefs, including the Chief of Defense Staff, Air Staff Chief, Army Staff Chief and Naval Staff Chief.
The upper chamber had, on July 21, asked the CDS and the service chiefs to step aside, following the killing of soldiers fighting insurgency and banditry in some parts of northern Nigeria.
The decision came after a motion by the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Army, Senator Ali Ndume, moved in plenary on a point of order
Ndume ‘s motion entitled ‘Urgent National Importance Issue’ was premised on the growing number of casualties among the armed forces and other security agencies due to the country ‘s rising banditry and insurgency. He described that situation as worrying.
He said, “Just recently, 24 soldiers were ambushed and killed along the Gamboa-Maiduguri Road in Borno State. At least 19 were wounded, while nine were declared missing in action.
“It is also disturbing that in Katsina recently, about 20 soldiers were ambushed and killed, while several others were wounded. The number of civilian casualties is not known.
“If the trend continues, it will have serious implications on the fight against insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality in the country.Recently, it was alleged that over 236 soldiers voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army.”
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, in his prayer, as an addition to Ndume’s point of order, demanded that service chiefs step aside.The Senate approved the prayer and passed a resolution on it accordingly.
The Presidency, however, reacted immediately, saying the President was not legally bound to act on the resolution of the legislature, while stressing that the President reserved the power to sack or retain the service chiefs.
In a recent interview, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru, said the red chamber would continue to persuade the President to act on its resolution.
Basiru admitted that the resolution was purely advisory but maintained that it represented the position of Nigerians who elected them into the Senate.
He said, “We, however, still want to persuade the President to consider our resolution. The Presidency has said it is aware of our resolution and has pledged to look into it.
“The Presidency said it is not legally bound to carry out (our) resolution because it is the prerogative of the President to remove service chiefs.”
Basiru did not categorically confirm that the Senate resolution was properly transferred to the presidency, but stated, “Our resolutions are merely persuasive authority coming from Nigerian elected representatives in the national assembly.”
He said: “This is not a statute (resolution). It is consultative and convincing. The Presidency ‘s answer is the right legal position and I agree with that.
“Due to the principle of separation of power, we cannot compel the President to sack the service chiefs. We only responded to the feelings of Nigerians by asking the President to reorganise them (service chiefs) but he is not legally bound to do so.”
The Senate spokesman also noted that the Senate was deliberating with the executive on the decentralisation of the police and additional recruitment into the Force, adding that the decentralisation was already being worked on.