Group chides Nigerian Senate for summoning chief of army staff

Group chides Nigerian Senate for summoning chief of army staff

- Members of the Senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions are at logger heads with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai

- Buratai had failed to honour the invitation of the committee to attend a public hearing

- A civil society organisation has faulted the Senate's invitation to the COAS

A civil society organisation known as Citizens Watch Nigeria (CWN) has condemned the recent summon of the COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, by the Nigerian Senate.

In a statement sent to journalists on Tuesday, October 10, the group faulted the action taken by the Senate committee on ethics and privileges, stressing that the matter is subjudice at the National Industrial Court (NIC).

They argued that the laws governing the military worldwide is different from that of civil laws, hence the futility of the Senate summon.

The statement noted that when a personnel takes an oath of office to serve and protect the territorial integrity of the nation, he or she instantly becomes subject to military laws.

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It also noted that the military personnel can only be punished or court marshaled under the law and approved by the highest military authority.

A petition had been submitted by a retired officer who alleged that he had been dismissed from the army suddenly and without explanation.

CWN however argued that the said officer, Lt. Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed petitioned the Senate on malicious and compulsory retirement by the army, while he had already on August 12, 2016, filed a suit in the NIC against the COAS and the Nigerian Army, seeking reinstatement which invariably means that the issue now being handled by the Senate is already in court and cannot be entertained.

It noted that according to the standing rules 2015 of the Senate, matters in court are not allowed to be entertained by the Senate, urging the lawmakers to respect their own rules.

"The Senate usurps the powers of the NIC by taking up a matter of a dismissed military officer, which is an aberration, null and void.

"It is clear that the Senate do not have the mandate and jurisdiction to hear or entertain the petition not to talk of summoning the COAS," the statement said.

It argued that the committee on ethics erred by walking out a representative of the COAS who was sent because of the respect the COAS has for the Senate, knowing fully well the enormous national task on his desk.

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Meanwhile, the troops of 81 Division of the Nigerian army on October 7, launched its 2017 training exercise tagged Operation Crocodile Smile in Lagos and Ogun states.

The southwest exercise is expected to last three weeks and end on October 28.

The spokesman of the division, Lieutenant Colonel Olaolu Daudu, in a statement on Monday, October 9, said the exercise will also avail troops the opportunity to sharpen combat skills in the conduct of land base as well as joint riverine operations.

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