ABUJA – Twenty-nine army major generals and members of Course 36 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) pencilled in for retirement after the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Maj. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, are expected to meet the army chief and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, on Thursday, THISDAY has learnt.
It was gathered that the generals, who still have three years to go, having served 32 years as against the 35 years requirement before exiting the service complained about the sudden and premature retirement confronting them.
THISDAY also learnt that the affected officers received directives to proceed on a one-month compulsory leave.
“Negotiations are still ongoing on the fate of the Course 36 and 37 officers. They are expected to meet with the CDS on Thursday”, a military source said.
Another source said: “They are grumbling and complaining that they were taken unawares. Some of them had plans that their retirement are due in three years and are planning accordingly, but here they are, being told to proceed on compulsory leave.”
THISDAY learnt that the fate of Course 37 members, who are course mates of the army chief, was still undecided.
There are indications that they may also be asked to leave, depending on the decision of the Nigerian Army Council headed by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd).
“Members of 37, course mates of COAS are also going to leave to enable him to have command and control over his juniors, Course 38,” a source said while noting that those, who may survive would be sent to the Defence Headquarters and tri-service institutions.
THISDAY learnt that members of Course 35 have already proceeded on retirement.
“Those who will survive in Course 37 will be posted to DHQ and tri-services and the rest whom COAS can’t work with will go as well”, the source said.
Course 37 members ordinarily should have four years more to spend in the service.
There was controversy yesterday over the retirement or otherwise of the 29 generals in the Nigerian Army.
This followed reports that Course 36 officers, who are senior to Yahaya, were directed via a memo to proceed on compulsory leave.
It was also gathered that the major generals will undertake a one-year course in any local institution of their choice after the conclusion of the leave.
The affected officers include Maj. Gens. JB Olawumi, JO Akomolafe, CO Ude, G Oyefesobi, MO Uzoh, CC Okonkwo and MSA Aliyu.
Also on the list are UM Mohammed, BM Shafa, NE Angbazo, YP Auta, SA Yaro, J Sarham and HE Ayamasoawei.
Others include: OF Azinta, BA Akinroluyo, KAY Isiyaku, AT Hamman, AM Aliyu, HPZ Vintienagba, HR Momoh, JR Unuigbe, AA Jidda, OI Uzomere, MH Magaji, LA Adegboye, MA Masanawa, OA Akinyemi and AM Dauda.
Defence Headquarters at a briefing last week had said there was no retirement of generals in the army, saying retirement of generals was voluntary.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, also denied the retirement issue in an interview with THISDAY.