Service Chiefs: Saraki’s Tweet Stirs Controversy; Senate President Clarifies To Douse Reactions
A controversial message posted on the Twitter handle of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday night, sparked a serious controversy which forced his media team to make clarifications that further provoked critical reactions from Nigerians, on Tuesday.
Saraki, in his tweet, said that President Muhammadu Buhari did not require the approval of the Senate to nominate the country’s service chiefs.
He specifically said it was not the business of the Senate to approve the appointment of service chiefs.
Saraki was reacting to the President’s statement on Monday that the newly-appointed service chiefs would function in acting capacity pending the Senate’s approval.
He noted that the upper chamber could only approve the appointments of ministers and heads of Federal Government agencies.
The Senate President wrote, “Appointment of service chiefs is an exclusive function of Mr. President. Senate can only approve ministerial, parastatals etc.”
But clearing the air on Tweets, Saraki said the security chiefs do not need to undergo screening before they are cleared. He also said the National Assembly needs no consultation by the President before he names Service chiefs.
A statement by his media aide Sunni Onogu reads: “The attention of the Media Office of the Senate President has been drawn to a story making the rounds to the effect that the Senate does not need to screen or confirm the new Service Chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“However, we want to make it abundantly clear that based on inquiries made to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on whether the Senate was consulted before the appointment of new Service Chiefs was announced, he had in response tweeted that the appointment of Service Chiefs is the exclusive function of the President as stipulated by the Constitution.
“Let it be known that his comment is now being misinterpreted to say the Senate will neither screen nor confirm the new Service Chiefs. This is far from the truth.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Saraki has said his comment is without prejudice to extant laws and court pronouncements on the issue and, therefore, that the Senate will do the needful when the list of the new Service Chiefs is sent to it by Mr. President.
“This is to clarify the earlier position which was not up to date and does not represent the position of the Senate President on the issue of screening of the newly appointed service chiefs .
“The Senate will perform its constitutional duty when it receives communication from the President on the appointments.”