…insist Nigeria must overcome its challenges
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives has commenced the screening of the new Service Chiefs appointment recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The President had written to the House, requesting the screening of the new military top shots.
This is the first the House will be embarking on such exercise as it had always been done by the Senate.
The appointees included Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Lucky E.O Irabor; Chief of Army Staff Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Ishiaka Oladayo Amao.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Wednesday, the Chairman of the ad-hoc Committee for the screening, Hon. Babajimi Benson said the screening was in accordance with provisions of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 which required that the nominees be confirmed by the National Assembly.
He added that the committee will be thorough and grill the new Service Chiefs on areas of personal skills and experience, insurgency and general insecurity, personnel welfare among others.
He said: “We are here today to perform the screening exercise of the nominees as part of the legal confirmation process. From the inception of this 9th House of Representatives, National Security has been discussed more than 200 times at plenary. Yet the nation is still grappling with diverse and increasing security challenges, despite some successes recorded by the gallant men and women of our Armed Forces. While I appreciate there is no single magic solution, I believe the kind of leadership provided to our Armed Forces is part of the solution mix.
“Mr President presented these Nominees for confirmation in accordance with the provisions of Section 18 (1) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“I can assure you that the Nominees will be grilled on questions covering a wide range of subjects. Areas in which they will be questioned include Professional skill and experience; Nigeria’s war on terror and insurgency and insecurity in general; Funding of the military; Strategic security knowledge and vision of the Nominees and Welfare of military personnel
“We are aware of the many sensitivities around National Security matters and because of our desire to robustly engage the nominees to a good level of granularity across many subject areas; we have decided to conduct these vigorous exchanges behind closed doors.
“This will not only help protect national security but more importantly also give the nominee the freedom to respond more adequately, comprehensively and expansively without any fear of an unwitting exposure of sensitive information.”
Benson stated that the exercise will shift to a closed-door session where individual questions will be asked.
He promised to turn in the report to the House by next week, assuring that the House must ensure the nation fixes its security challenges.
“After my opening remark; the Nominees with have the opportunity to state their vision and aspiration for their respective roles. We will then be conducting the screening individually for each nominee (in closed sessions).
“Over the next days, we will compile our notes, deliberate fully and extensively as a committee and submit our report and recommendations to Plenary next week.
“It is my hope that the frank and constructive engagement we will have today with the Nominees will be the flavour of future encounters and will continue if they are confirmed by the National Assembly.
National Security requires an all government approach. We in the House of Representatives will continue to engage constructively with the government and provide any support needed to strengthen the hands of our gallant men and women in uniform to successfully secure this nation and provide the peace and stability needed for economic growth and development of our country.”
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