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Lawyers draw battle line with Senate over Armed Forces Commission Bill

 

No fewer than 350 lawyers across the country have vowed to resist any attempt by the Senate to pass the proposed Armed Forces Commission Bill into law.

Sponsored by the lawmaker representing Abia-South, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the bill, among others, claims to address the lopsided appointment of heads of security agencies by the president.

If passed, it will whittle down the President’s powers and hand it over to the legislative arm while also establishing the Armed Forces Service Commission.

The Senate’s Minority Leader and others connected with the said bill have come under serious criticism, the latest being legal practitioners under the aegis, Lawyers Initiative for Democratic Advocacy (LIDA).

In a letter signed by Director of Communication, Ekpa Stanley Ekpa and addressed to Senate President Ahmed Lawan, on Wednesday, the group declared that as legal practitioners, it is their duty to ensure that the rule of law, justice and separation of powers are upheld for the betterment of the ordinary citizens”.

It revealed that the Armed Forces bill goes against their mission, describing it as “obnoxious, repulsive and satanic, targeted at reducing the Nigerian Armed Forces into a mushroom assemblage that can be easily subjected to political interference”.

The group argued that it is the lofty duty of the Federal Character Commission to enforce the Federal Character Principle and not that of the Senate and if passed the bill would lead to several administrative crises among the various bodies involved.

The lawyers, therefore, warned it “ will resist any attempt by narcissist elements within and outside the country to assail and defile our sacrosanct Constitution”.

It added that the bill will serve no useful purpose for the development of Nigeria.