The Nigerian Army has clarified the recent retirement of senior officers of various ranks from the service.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said in a statement on Monday that the Army Council only approved the compulsory retirement of 38 senior officers.
According to Usman, those affected in the compulsory retirement exercise were nine Major Generals, 10 Brigadier Generals, seven Colonels, 11 Lieutenant Colonels and a Major.
He quoted service exigencies in consonance with the Armed Forces Act, 30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, as the basis for their compulsory retirement from service.
Usman had also made a reference to the outcome of the investigation of the Presidential Panel on Arms Procurement and the Investigative Panel into the activities of the personnel of the Army as the basis for the retirement of the officers in an earlier statement on Saturday.
The Acting Army Spokesman said in the statement that serving officers of the Army were listed by some media houses among those said to have been retired by the Army Council.
He appealed to the public to discountenance the report.
He said that the Nigerian Army remained a professional organisation whose personnel must remain apolitical at all time.
He said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to speculations and rumours regarding the number and names of the senior Army officers affected in the recent retirement exercise.
“We wish to state that only 38 senior officers were affected by the retirement exercise. For the avoidance of doubt the following is the statistics of the officers retired compulsorily; 9 Major Generals, 10 Brigadier Generals, 7 Colonels, 11 Lieutenant Colonels and a Major.
“We are quite aware that some mischievous elements are trying to whip up sentiments. This is quite unfortunate because all the affected officers were retired based on Service exigencies and in line with the Armed Forces Act, CAP A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“It is pertinent to remind all that the Nigerian Army is a professional institution that is based on highest standards of discipline and conduct. Consequently it’s personnel must remain professional, neutral and apolitical at all times.”
However, investigations revealed that some other very senior officers who had attained the mandatory age of 60 years or 35 years in service’s names were lumped together with the the 38 officers who were compulsorily retired in some media reports.
The officers whose retirement fell under voluntary retirement were said to have made calls to the Army authorities to express their surprise having not committed any offense to deserve being retired compulsorily from the Army under the present circumstances.
The officers were said to have called the attention of the Army authorities to the fact that they were neither involved in arms procurement under President Goodluck Jonathan nor played any role in the 2015 elections.
It was gathered that some of the affected officers had been written by the Army to proceed on retirement and were billed to leave the service in the next two to three months.
In the Army, When an officer attains the status of mandatory retirement either due to attaining age of 60 years or the 35 years in service, the officer is deemed to have retired meritoriously and could be employed by the Federal Government and the multinational companies in the future.
The situation is different from those retired compulsorily as they would be denied future engagement by the Federal Government and certain class of companies.
The implication is that they would be seen to have committed certain offences for which they were forcibly asked to leave the service.
It was learnt that it is the practice in the Armed Forces to notify those to retire six months to the their exit during which they too would write to acknowledge receipt of the letter to leave the service voluntarily.
Our correspondent could not get Usman to comment on the story as an aide in his office who picked his call said that he was in a meeting.
Source – Punch