ALLEGATION OF ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS CLEANSING AS ARMY COUNCIL RETIRES GENERALS; SENIOR OFFICERS.
There was shock and misgivings in the Nigerian Army, with some hinting of ethnic and religious cleansing, as close to 200 officers from Major Generals to Major, were retired Friday, following what the authorities said was a consequence of service exigencies.
Several Army Generals were said to have reported for work with zeal and excitement on Friday with no inkling that their faith had been decided by the Army Council, only to be given letters which shockingly turned out to be retirement letters.
A sizeable number of those retired are said to be those that held operational positions like Brigade Commanders, Commanding Officers and other sensitive positions during the 2015 general elections as well as those that participated in the war against terror, now christened ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’.
Others allegedly had one or two roles to play in the procurement of army equipment and other logistics and may have been indicted by the Chief of Army Staff’s Committee that investigated arms, logistics and other procurements dating back to the tenure of former COAS, like Generals Owoye Azazi, Abdurahman Dambazau, Azubuike Ihejirika and KTJ Minimah.
Some of the Generals who investigations showed were in the list, include Major General MY Ibrahim, a former GOC 7 division, Maiduguri, Major General Fatai Ali, a former Chief of Training and Operations, Army headquarters, Major General Ilo, GOC 2 division, Ibadan, Major General SD Aliyu, former DA China, Brig-General Lawson, Defence Adviser China, Brigadier General Mustapha Onoiveta, former ADC to late President Yar’adua, Brigadier General Dahiru Abdusalami, Brigade Commander, Jos, Brigadier General Bello, Acting Director, Operations
A statement from Army headquarters, signed by the Acting Director, Army Public relations on the retirements, released at 12. 45am on Friday reads, “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.
“Some officers have already been arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“People should therefore not read this out of context.
“The military must remain apolitical and professional at all times.
“We must applaud and support this laudable and bold initiative by the government”.
It will be recalled that early this year (January), the board of inquiry set up by the Nigerian Army to investigate allegations of professional misconducts by some officers in the 2015 elections, recommended the compulsory retirement of two senior officers of the Nigerian Army.
GOC 1 Division, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade who chaired the BOI while submitting the report to the COAS, Lt. General Tukur Buratai in Abuja, also recommended that 3 officers were to lose their command and 1 officer was recommended for prosecution for collecting financial gratification.
“Other recommendations include placing 15 officers on watch list, 9 officers were to be further investigated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission over allegations leveled against them.
“Six (6) officers are to face an audit committee and 62 officers (mostly of the rank of Majors-below) were to be given Letters of Displeasure and to appear before their respective General Officers Commanding for counseling”.
The BOI followed petitions and allegations of unprofessional and partisan conducts of some officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army during the 2015 General elections, as well as Ekiti and Osun States gubernatorial elections.
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