Senate to introduce Bill on service chiefs’ appointment

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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There is an indication that the mode of appointment of service chiefs by the Nigerian President may soon be altered by parliament to avoid feelings of injustice from any part of the country.

Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who hinted this at the weekend, disclosed that a bill on the equity in the spread of appointments by the President, especially Service Chiefs and heads of major security outfits in the country would soon be presented to the National Assembly.

In an interaction with journalists on national issues, Senator Kalu who represents Abia North senatorial district said the bill, if passed and signed into law by the President, would go a long way to stop the cries of marginalisation from any part of the country.

The former Abia State governor, who agreed that the South East zone has been suffering marginalisation since the nation’s civil war, advised that the appointments of Service Chiefs should be spread across the six geo-political zones in the mode of constitutional provision of one minister per state.

“In terms of appointments, because the constitution says that every state should have at least one minister that is statutory. It is good to also spread the Service Chiefs which I will like people in the Senate to bring a bill, so we can make a law that every region must have a Service Chief,” he said.

While the Service Chiefs are the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army of Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and the Inspector General of Police, heads of strategic security outfits are those of the Department of State Services; DSS, National Intelligence Agency, NIA and political appointees like the Minister of Defence and the National Security Adviser, NSA.

SERVICE DELIVERY

Senator Kalu, however, said in as much as appointees in such category are more or less personal staff of the President, Nigerians should focus attention more on service delivery of whoever is in power than the nature or composition of his appointees within the security circle.

According to him, “When you look at it, Service Chiefs are like personal staff of the President, they are not really constitutionally owned because you only work with military men you trust. That is the truth whether you want to hear that or not. 

“So, everybody goes back to his region. He might not be the best but that is the trend because everybody wants to be in control of his security. So, this is why I see people who shout they are marginalised sometimes these things are not real, we should look for productive things that would be done by the government. 

“I don’t care about who is appointed. What I care about is what services are they giving for people to move about their businesses, for people to  be secured, for people to be saved, for armed robbers to stop harassing people, kidnappers to be tamed and so on and so forth.”

PASS MARK

The lawmaker, however, gave President Muhammadu Buhari pass mark in spite of alleged lopsidedness of appointments being attached to his government, saying he has done more for the South East zone than any other previous administrations in terms of projects execution.

“In the area of project execution in the South East for example, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is doing far, far better than the previous ones consciously voted for by the people of the area.

“The second Niger Bridge is coming on board. I can tell you from the 70s, specifically from 1975, every administration has promised the Easterners second Niger bridge and the benefit is not only for Easterners, it is for the Nigerian people and every other person that came spoke big English and grammar and they did not do anything but President Buhari is implementing it right away.

“So for somebody to say he did not give us minister, we don’t need minister if he can do the Niger bridge, if he can do all the roads and fix other required infrastructure with attendant security for people to go about their lawful business on daily basis without being molested, harassed, robbed, kidnapped or killed, so be it,” he added.