A consolidated amendment bill seeking to allow the appointments of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) from among the three services of the Nigerian Armed Forces, on Thursday, scaled second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill is also proposing 40 years of service and a 65-year retirement age for members of the armed forces.
The bill is jointly sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Okezie Kalu; Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Blessing Onuh, Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere, Esset Mark Udo, Steve Fatoba and Zakari Dauda Nyampa.
The Bill entitled, “A Bill for an Act to amend the Armed Forces Act Cap. A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the Appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff and for Other Related Matters, 2023” was consolidated with a related Bill titled, “A Bill for an Act to amend the Armed Forces Act Cap. A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the engagements of consultants, senior compulsorily retired officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces to provide training and guidance to serving officers and for related matters, 2023,” sponsored by Rep Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa).
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Leading the debate, Rep Gbefwi said the provisions of the principal Act regarding the appointments of the chief of defence staff and other service chiefs as well as related matters lacked desired clarity and contained ambiguity.
He said nothing in the Act prevents the appointment of a non-serving or non-military officer from being appointed as a service chief.
Gbefwi said the bill aims to provide for the appointment of other Service Chiefs, namely the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff from their respective services.
“On the other hand, the objective of the Bill is to ensure that serving military officers learn from the wealth of experience of retired senior military officers compulsorily retired as a result of the appointment of their juniors as Chief of Defence Staff or Service Chiefs”, he said.
The bill was passed for second reading and referred to the relevant committees of the House for further legislative actions.