Court Declares Appointment Of Service Chiefs Illegal



Keyamo 600The Federal High Court today sitting in Abuja and presided over by Hon. Justice Adamu Bello declared the appointment of all Service Chiefs of the federation unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and restrained the President from further appointing them without the approval of the Senate.

The case was instituted in 2008 by Mr. Festus Keyamo against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation and all the Service Chiefs. In the Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/611/2008, Mr. Keyamo had sought a determination of the following questions:
“Whether by the combined interpretation of the provisions of Section 218 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the 1st Defendant can appoint the Service Chiefs of the Federation, namely, (a) The Chief of Air Staff (b) The Chief of Army Staff and
(c) The Chief of Naval Staff, (that is, the 3rd, 4th & 5th Defendants who were appointed as such) without the confirmation of the National Assembly first sought and obtained.

“Whether Section 18 (1) & (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 is not in conformity with the provision of the 1999 Constitution so as to fall within the category of existing laws under Section 315 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, that the President, may, by Order, modify its text, to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.

The court answered both questions in favour of Mr. Festus Keyamo and granted the following orders:

“A DECLARATION that the appointment of Service Chiefs for the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the President, without the confirmation of the National Assembly is illegal, unconstitutional and void.

“A DECLARATION that Section 18 (1) & (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, is in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution so as not to fall within the category of existing laws under Section 315 (2) – of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, that the President, may, by order, modify its text, to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.

“AN ORDER restraining the President from further appointing Service Chiefs for the Federation without first obtaining the confirmation of the National Assembly.

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