Military downsizes: retire generals, senior officers for sundry offences
In what could be described as a major purge in the military, the Army Council on Friday approved the punishment and retirement of more than 50 serving senior officers, including Generals, for complicity in electoral fraud and other offences.
Indication that most of the affected officers were those indicted for engaging in electoral frauds could be inferred from the statement issued by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman.
Usman enjoined Nigerians not to read this out of context, stating; “the military must remain apolitical and professional at all times; we must applaud and support this laudable and bold initiative by the government.”
Although the statement did not specify those affected in the purge, it indicated that those retired were mainly some Major Generals, Brigadier Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels and a Major.
“It is not permitted to give out names of the affected officers, for now. They would be given their letters by the Council,” the statement added, saying, “their retirement was based on Service exigencies.”
It should be recalled that not too long ago some officers were investigated for being partisan during the 2015 General Elections, during which some Major Generals and other senior Officers faced Military Court Martial for their roles in the run off to and during conduct of the last general elections.
The particular cases are in Edo, Ekiti and Osun States, where Governor Adams Ashiomhole threatened to sue the General Officer Commanding the 81 Division in Benin, Maj.Gen Layele, for interfering in the process and the Captain Sagir-saga in Ekiti state.
Others, according to inside sources, include those that participated in the distribution of money and other welfare packages to tilt support in a particular direction.
The panel, according to Usman had investigated and found them guilty of partisanship in carrying out a national assignment, and recommended them for various types of punishments.
The Nigeria Army spokesman told The Guardian; “as a matter of policy we do not do so (give out names)” and that affected persons would be served letters of retirement once approved by the Army Council. It was gathered from credible sources that some of the Generals affected include; Maj Gen Fatai Alli, a former Director of Military intelligence, Maj Gen Mohammed,(not the same one that soldiers revolted against in Maiduguri), Maj-Gen Layele, Maj.Gen Onibasa, Brig Gen Abdulsallam, who served at the Military Command and Control Centre in Maiduguri, Brig Gen A.S. Saad, Director of Operations, Brig Gen LM Bello, Col Ashinze, who worked with the former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) among others.
Part of the statement read: “The Nigerian Army wishes to inform the general public that quite a number of senior officers of the Nigerian Army were retired from service yesterday (Friday).
“The investigation by the Presidential Committee Investigating Defence Contracts revealed a lot. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have already arraigned some officers in court.”