The Senate, on Tuesday, ignored petitions and complaints to confirm four former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors at the recommendation of President Muhammadu Buhari.
By that action, the senior lawmakers have, according to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), betrayed Nigerians.
The party, which stated this in a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the confirmation was meant to make the former service chiefs evade prosecution for crimes committed under their watch.
The ex-service chiefs, namely the former Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; former Chief of Air Staff, Ibok Ibas; and former Chief of Naval Staff, Abubakar Sadique, controversially “retired” in January after months of complaints by Nigerians, who called for their dismissal due to their inability to subdue the country’s security challenges.
Their nominations again stirred criticisms from different quarters, with concerns being raised about the sincerity of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to fight crimes.
In reaction to the Senate’s decision, the PDP raised suspicion of foul play and alleged that it was conniving to suppress the will of the people.
“It is indeed horrendous that the APC leadership in the Senate could choose to betray Nigerians by rushing to clear the accused ex-service chiefs in a desperate attempt to grant them diplomatic immunity and shield them from investigation and prosecution for the atrocities committed against Nigerians under their command,” the party said.
“Though it is public knowledge that the current APC Senate leadership is a mere rubber stamp and contrivance being used to endorse atrocious policies and suppress the will of the people, descending to the level of aiding and abetting crime against humanity by attempting to confer diplomatic immunity on the accused ex-commanders is, to say the least, despicable.
“It is indeed shameful that the APC leadership in the Senate could clear the ex-service chiefs, who the National Assembly had earlier indicted and requested for their sack over security failures and alleged compromises. Such a reward of failure amounts to stabbing our nation in the back.”
The PDP insisted that “the haste to confirm the former service chiefs will not stop the investigation and possible prosecution of the accused commanders by the ICC”.
Interestingly, some members of the PDP were among the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs who screened the four ex-service chiefs before their appointments were ratified at the plenary session.