THERE is palpable tension in the military, following the sudden and compulsory retirement of over 200 senior army officers. The officers were reportedly contacted on phones, on Friday evening, to come to the office and pick their retirement letters.
According to an impeccable source, “officers retired were not called for any interview only for them to be invited and collect their retirement letters.
Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel S.K Usman, in a midnight statement, on Saturday, said that the Army Council had approved the retirement of some army officers with immediate effect.
According to him, the officers were found to be partisan in the 2015 general elections, while others were found to be indicted in the arms purchase scam.
He added that the retirement affected mostly Major Generals, Brigadier Generals, Colonels, as well as Lieutenant Colonels and a Major.
A top military source confided in Sunday Tribune that the institution was out for vendetta, as most of the officers affected were Brigade Commanders and General Officers Commanding (GOCs) who were in charge of states where the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the 2015 general election.
“I am sad because most of the people affected are either from the South-West, South-East and South-South,” the source lamented.
He affirmed that there was heightened tension as nobody was sure what would happen in the next minute.
Some of the officers affected were GOC 7 Division and now a Director at Army Headquarters, Major General M.Y. Ibrahim; GOC 2nd Division, Ibadan, Major General L.C Ilo; GOC 3rd Division, Jos, Major General F.O Alli; Commander, Operation Pulo Shield, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, as well as Major General S.D Aliyu and Brigadier General Dahiru Abdulsalam.
Others were former ADC to late President Umaru Yar‘Adua, Brigadier General M.D Onoyivita; former Director Operations, Army Headquarters, Brigadier General L.M. Bello; as well as Brigadier General Koko Essien and Defence Attache, Clinic, Brigadier General Lawson.
The statement 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,” it said.
According to the statement, 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,” the statement noted.