- By Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
The Nigerian Senate has granted first readings to two bills sponsored by the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu to provide for fixed tenure of service Chiefs of the Armed Forces and to increase the number of justices of the court of appeal.
The first readings of the bill were taken during the final week of the Senate plenary before the National Assembly proceeded for the Muslim festive holiday. The bills fronted by the Abia-North Senator were read and subsequently ratified for second reading.
The bills are titled; “a bill for an act to amend the Armed Forces Act Chapter A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 in other to improve professionalism by providing for fixed tenure of service Chiefs and other related matters thereto, Bill 2022( S.B. 1014) and a” Bill for an Act to amend the court of Appeal Act to prescribed the number of justices of the court of Appeal, increasing the number to ensure speedy administration of justice pursuant to constitutional provision of Section 217 and 237 (2) (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended (S.B. 1024).
The explanatory memorandum of the Armed Forces amendment Act bill sighted by the Sun correspondent reveals the bill seeks to enhance professionalism in the Nigerian Armed forces by deleting and replacing the provisions in sections : 7.(1); 18 (1);18. (2) and 18(3).
The bill among others when passed into law will stipulate that the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff by the President shall be Subject to the National Assembly Assembly,who shall be the most senior officer based on rank in the Armed Forces and shall be saddled with the day to-day command and general superintendence of the Armed Forces.
Furthermore that the phrase “The Service Chief shall be known”, will be inserted in the act and service Chiefs will addressed as Chief of Army Staff ;in the case of the Nigerian Army , Chief of Air Staff in the case of the Air Force, Chief of Navy Staff in the case of the Nigerian Navy and that the Service Chiefs shall be Subject to the terms of appointment of a fixed tenure of three years and may be retained for a further term of one year.
The court of appeal amendment bill on its part among others aims to increase the number of court of appeal justices from forty one to One hundred and one which according to Senator Kalu will accelerate the dispensation of justice.
Shortly after the abridged titles of the bills were read before members of the Senate by the deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, a voice vote presided by the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan voted in favour of the Bill after which the bill was referred for second reading.