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Northern elders: Nothing wrong with President Buhari nominating ex-service chiefs as ambassador designates

Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, on Thursday night, said there was nothing wrong with President Muhammadu Buhari nominating any citizen, including the immediate past service chiefs, for the position of an ambassador so long as such a person remained acceptable and worthy of the office.

NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this in a chat with newsmen in Abuja.

There have been concerns over the nomination of Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (retd ), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (retd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (retd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (retd) as non-career ambassador-designates barely two weeks after they retired from the military.

There have also been speculations that their nomination was to shield them from investigation for alleged crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, ICC.

When asked whether the Forum welcomed President Buhari’s forwarding of the names of the immediate past service chiefs to the Senate for confirmation as ambassador-designates, the NEF’s spokesman said, “It is the constitutional responsibility of the president to nominate people who he believes are deserving to represent the country, and that of the National Assembly to scrutinize the nominations and decide on them.

“What is important is to ensure that people who will be our representatives in other countries are persons with the highest personal and professional credentials and character.”

On the speculation that the nomination of the ex-service chiefs was to provide them with diplomatic immunity, Baba-Ahmed said: “We would not put much value on speculations that the appointments are to shield them from international laws. These laws apply to people in or out of office.”

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