NIGERIA’s military high command has dismissed suggestions that about 30 of its major generals will be compulsorily retired from the army following the appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new chief of army staff.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Major General Yahaya as Nigeria’s 22nd chief of army staff to replace Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a plane crash last month. A Course 37 Regular Intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy, General Yahaya still has seniors serving in the Nigerian Army as several Courses 35 and 36 officers are still in service and there were fears that they will be compulsorily be retired.
However, Nigeria’s defence headquarters has dismissed suggestions that they will be asked to proceed on mandatory retirement. Brigadier Bernard Onyeuko, the acting director of Defence Media Operations, said that under the new harmonized terms and conditions of service for the armed forces, military officers who want to proceed on such retirements can only do so voluntarily.
Brigadier Onyeuko added: “You are all aware of the appointment of the new chief of army staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya. This has stirred up lot of rumours in the media about mass retirements in the military.
“I wish to use this medium to dispel such unfounded rumours. Retirement is only on voluntary basis for senior officers who desire to do so and at this point, no retirements has been authorised by the military high command.”
He pointed out that new terms and conditions of service states that officers can only retire when they have completed the mandatory 35 years in service or reached the retirement age that goes with a particular rank. In the past, mandatory retirement of officers following appointment of service chiefs, has robbed the military of a large number of highly trained and experienced officers for which the nation spent billions of naira in training.
This has impacted negatively on the military as such experienced officers are needed for the mounting security challenges the nation is grappling with. It is thus expected that some of these senior officers will be asked to stay on.