Following the appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya as the 22 Chief of Army Staff, a Course 37 Regular Intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy and the fear that his seniors of Courses 35 and 36 may be asked to proceed on mandatory retirement in the Nigerian Army, the Defence headquarters has said there will be no retirement of such.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko made this known at an operations briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “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. At this point, no retirements has been authorized by the Military High Command”.
It would be recalled that in similar situations in the past, over 30 Major Generals and Brigadier Generals who are of Courses 35 and 36 still in service would have proceeded on retirement.
Investigations however revealed 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 willfully or voluntarily.
The 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.
It was gathered that in the past, mandatory retirement of such officers following appointment of service chiefs which is no fault of theirs, has robbed the military and the Nigerian nation of a large number of highly trained and experienced officers for which the nation spent billions of naira in training, and it has impacted negatively on the pool of such experienced officers needed for the mounting security challenges the nation is grappling with.