Twenty-six senior military officers, including a retired Major General and 10 retired Brigadiers General, have petitioned the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, over their compulsory retirement from the Nigerian Army.
Apart from the petitioners, who were Regular Combatant Officers, others are about 120 Direct Regular Officers, who were mostly medical doctors, lawyers and other professionals, were also purged from the service last month.
The petition, dated April 1, 2019, and signed by their lawyer, Johnson Oyewole, was made available to newsmen
The petitioners, who include Maj. Gen. O. Ugo (Imo state); Brigs. Gen. J. Chima (Imo), J. Ebong (Akwa Ibom), P. Aro (Ondo); M. Odediran (Osun); A. Busari (Oyo); E. Albara (Niger); J. Audu (Kogi); O. Falade (Osun) and G. Shipi (Plateau) and others, argued that their retirement was unlawful.
They contended that as Regular Combatant Officers, they cannot be retired from the army based on Rule 020810 (I) which the military secretary relied on to ease them out of service.
After they were served retirement letters, the petitioners stated that they registered their displeasure with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, through a letter dated February 20, adding that this was followed up with a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Their protest letters, the men said, did not elicit any response from the Nigerian Army Council or the presidency, prompting them to petition the House of Representatives’ Speaker for redress.
Giving the background to their situation, the petitioners explained that the NAC, under the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansue Dan Ali (retd.), the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, and the CAS, convened an emergency meeting of the Council where they directed the military secretary to retire them in spite of the fact that they had not clocked 35 years in service or attained 60 years as stated in the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers (2017) revised.
The petition read partly, “A cursory look at the list (of retired officers) revealed that 17 of them are from the southern part of the country while the rest are from the north. Our clients were not investigated for any infraction, indicted by a court martial or convicted by a disciplinary panel of any criminal breaches.”
The petitioners insisted that they still have between two and seven years to serve their fatherland in the army and sought the intervention of the House to set aside their retirement.