President Muhammadu Buhari, in a letter to the Senate, has nominated the immediate past Service Chiefs as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.
This development was disclosed in a statement issued by Femi Adesina, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity on Thursday.
Buhari, in the letter to Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the Senate, said:
“In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.
“The nominees are: Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin, Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Rtd), and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Rtd), as well as Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd).”
Buhari charged the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations.
The nomination of the former Service Chiefs comes barely two weeks after they tendered their resignation to President Buhari.
Following their resignation, several groups, including the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate them for their alleged role in human rights abuses.
Similarly, a civil rights group, Concerned Nigerians, convened by Deji Adeyanju, had written to ICC asking that the former army chief, General Buratai, be probed over the alleged killing of over 300 Shi’ite Muslims in Zaria in 2015, hundreds of Biafran agitators, and scores of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate last October.
Unfortunately, the new ambassadorial roles for the ex service chiefs offers them diplomatic immunity which automatically shields them from prosecution for their alleged roles in human rights abuses.