Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says a suit will be filed to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sack the service chiefs.
The service chiefs — Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff; Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff; Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff, and Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff — were overdue for retirement, having spent more than 35 years in service.
Some lawmakers and other Nigerians have asked the president to sack the service chiefs over the security challenges in the country.
But the presidency condemned the call, saying beneficiaries of Boko Haram are inciting protests against the service chiefs.
Speaking on Channels TV on Monday, Falana described as an “embarrassment”, the statement by the presidency cautioning citizens from protesting against the service chiefs.
The human rights lawyer said a suit will be filed this week to challenge the president’s decision to keep the service chiefs.
“Under the public service rule, under the harmonised rules for military officers in Nigeria and under Section 6 of the armed forces act, which empowers the President to make rules and regulations for the military, there is no provision for extension of tenure (for Service Chiefs) beyond the period stipulated by law,” he said.
“It has been done in the past, but that does not make it right. There is equality before the law, so you can’t extend the service of certain officers while you ask others to go after 35 years of service or the attainment of 60 years of age. To the best of my knowledge, a suit will be filed during the week, in respect of this matter.
“The President must be prevailed upon to appreciate that we may also be undergoing what you might describe as internal sabotage (in the fight against insurgency) by many members of the armed forces who simply feel since these are the people who can stop insurgency or terrorism, let them go ahead. Because the Chief of Army Staff himself has had an occasion to accuse members of the armed forces of not doing enough.”
Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, had said opinions were divided on the stay of the service chiefs in office despite rising insecurity.
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