Service Chiefs 3 107X107 1 Lawyer Asks Court To Compel Ex-Service Chiefs To Refund ‘Illegal’ Allowances
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Lawyer asks court to compel ex-Service Chiefs to refund ‘illegal’ allowances

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

A constitutional lawyer, Mr. Johnmary Jideobi, on Tuesday, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja for an order to compel all the immediate past Service Chiefs, to refund all salaries, allowances, emoluments and benefits they received from December 18, 2017, to January 26, 2021.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/183/2021, argued  that tenures of the erstwhile Service Chiefs, were illegally extended for over four years by President Muhammadu Buhari, without the requisite confirmation of the National Assembly.
Specifically, he is asking the court to determine, “whether by the community reading and conflated interpretation of the provisions of Section 218 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose power of appointment of service chiefs is subordinated to the confirmation of the National Assembly, can validly extend the tenure of the same service chiefs, whose tenure has expired, without the confirmation of the National Assembly sought and obtained?
As well as, “whether by the community reading and conflated interpretation of the provisions of Section 218 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the purported extension of tenure approved for the service chiefs by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on or around the 18th day of December, 2017, without the confirmation of the National Assembly, being sought and obtained, is not illegal, unconstitutional and void?”.
Cited as 1st to 6th Defendants in the suit are President Buhari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff.
While the immediate past Service Chiefs, General Abayomi Olonisakin (Rtd), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Sadique Abubakar (Rtd) and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Usman (Rtd), were cited as 7th to 10th Defendants in the matter.
Among reliefs the Plaintiff is seeking from the court, include an order, declaring that President Buhari acted in breach of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, when he unilaterally extended tenures of the former Service Chiefs from 2017 to 2021, without recourse to the National Assembly.
He is further praying for, “An order of perpetual injunction of this Honourable Court, restraining the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from approving extension of tenure for Service Chiefs, upon the expiration of their tenure, without the confirmation of the National Assembly (Federal House of Representatives and the Senate) sought and obtained.
“An order of this Honourable Court setting aside the extension of tenure which the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria purported to have approved for service chiefs on or around the 18th day of December, 2017, without  the confirmation of the National Assembly (Federal House of Representatives and the Senate) being sought and obtained same being illegal, unconstitutional and of no legal effect.
Likewise, “An order of this Honourable Court directing; (a) Gen. Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd), (b) Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai (Rtd), (c) Vice Admiral Sadique Abubakar (Rtd), and (d) Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd) to refund all salaries, allowances, emoluments and benefits received from the 18th day of December, 2017 (when their tenure as service chiefs had ended) to 26th day of January, 2021 when they exited service finally, to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Treasury Single Account and file an affidavit of compliance (exhibiting copies of the evidence of remittance) with the Registry of this Honourable Court within seven (7) days from the date of delivery of judgment of the Court in this suit.reliefs the Plaintiff is seeking from the court, include a declaration that President Buhari acted in violation of 1999 constitution, as amended, and the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, when he unilaterally extended the tenure of the former Service Chiefs, without recourse to the National Assembly”.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.

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