President Muhammadu Buhari’s surprise nomination on Thursday of his immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors may have been to shield them from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities and rights abuses committed by the Nigerian military under their watch.
This is the view of some Nigerian lawyers who spoke with Premium Times on the development.
There have been calls since their retirement last week for the prosecution of especially Mr Buratai who led the Nigerian Army for about five and a half years.
But Thursday evening, a statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the president had forwarded the names of the former service chiefs to the Senate for confirmation as non-career ambassadors.
They include former Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; former Chief of Air Staff, Ibok Ibas; and former Chief of Naval Staff, Abubakar Sadique.
Their nominations come a week after they resigned from service and their replacements were inaugurated.
Their confirmation as ambassadors will confer on them diplomatic immunity.
Article 29 of the Vienna Convention protects diplomats from arrest and grants them immunity against civil and criminal prosecution.