Uneasy calm in military as more top officers are to go
There is palpable tension in the Nigeria Armed Forces, especially among senior officers, that they may be asked to follow the more than 50 that were compulsorily retired last week.
This is because the recommendations that would be given to the Armed Forces Council which takes the final decision, involves more than 100 senior officers from all the services.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army High Command yesterday explained why some generals and other senior officers of the institution were sent on early retirement.
Speaking to The Guardian on telephone yesterday, Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman said the officers were retired from service following recommendations of panels of inquiry into the arms deals and others, adding that retirement in the army is a normal thing
The mass sack has been described among analysts as another retirement tsunami, second to the one of January 2014, when the then President Goodluck Jonathan skipped three generations, comprising of 31 generals to appoint Kenneth Minimah Chief of Army Staff,.
In this instance, the retirement of about 28 army generals in one fell swoop “based on service exigencies” and culpability following investigation “for being partisan during the 2015 General Elections”, it appears is just a part of the three as some officers of the Nigeria Navy and Nigeria Air Force (NAF) may also be shown the doors.
Although a reliable source in the Army told The Guardian that the retirement letters are yet to be served to the affected officers, “because it the Army Council that approved the recommendations of the Committee, a decision that the Armed Forces Council which is headed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, that is the President, has to ratify before it would be implemented, that is when they would be given their letters”
In a statement by Usman, made available to The Guardian, Colonel Usman said: “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.
“Those retired were mainly some Major Generals, Brigadier Generals, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels and a Major. 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.
“Similarly, 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. People should therefore not read this out of context.
“The military must remain apolitical and professional at all times”.