By Kingsley Omonobi
There was shock in the Nigerian Army, with some hinting of ethnic and religious cleansing, as close to 200 officers including major generals were retired, on Friday, following what the authorities said was a consequence of service exigencies.
Several Generals were said to have reported for work with zeal on Friday with no inkling that their fate had been decided by the Army Council, only to be given letters which 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, Generals Owoye Azazi, Abdurahman Dambazau, Azubuike Ihejirika and KTJ Minimah.
Some of the Generals, who Sunday Vanguard gathered 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, a former ADC to the late President Yar’Adua, Brigadier General Dahiru Abdusalami, Brigade Commander, Jos, and Brigadier General Bello, Acting Director, Operations.
A statement from Army headquarters, signed by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations on the retirements and released at 12. 45am, on Friday, 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.
“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”.