CSO condemns ‘compulsory’ retirement of military personnel

A civil society of Nigeria has condemned the compulsory retirement of officers of course 36 by the Ministry of defense.

In a statement signed by the President Vanguard for Peace Building and Conflict Resolution, Ambassador Osagie Timipre, Wednesday reads; “We rise to condemn vehemently and in very strong terms the directive by Lt General Irabor, the Chief of Defence staff to officers of course 36 to disengage from the service in the wake of sustained attack on innocent citizens by Boko Haram, bandits and other criminal elements in the country.

“We call on the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces President Muhammadu Buhari who is also a retired military major general to order the defence headquarters to reverse the decision immediately in the interest of the war against insecurity.

“We are taken aback at the ill informed and janjaweed directive by the general Irabor asking senior officers of course 36 to all retire from the Nigerian armed forces at a time insecurity is ravaging the country, tearing it into pieces. This is a time that the military is even expected to recall retired officers to come back and assist in the fight against murderous terrorists. In whose interest it is to retire these officers in the wake of shortage of personnel to tackle insecurity.

“It is our settled opinion that the order from the defense headquarters is not in the best interest of the service and the country. It does not reflect the current feeling of citizens of the country. What is General Irabor afraid of? That he might be replaced with a more senior and experienced officer in the wake of worrisome and deteriorating security situation in the country.

“We wish take the CDS down memory lane. This is not the first time a senior course will be allowed to continue and reach their retirement years in the service with the appointment of Junior officers into positions.

“In 1999,Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, himself a retired military officer only retired military officers that held political exposed or were politically exposed.This was to make officers concentrate on their professional role of protecting the territorial integrity of the country so as to avoid military intervention in the democratic process.

“The closest is In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed , Service Chiefs but all other officers who were seniors to the most Junior Service Chief completed their years of service. This did not cause any rancor in the military.

“The over 60 experienced and well trained generals being retired are not the officers at the front line fighting or war zone just as the General Irabor and the other service chiefs. It is curious to abruptly order for their compulsory retirement when the Chief of defence staff and the service chiefs are in charge of giving direction for the military and all military operations. The military hierarchy should rather take responsibility for any failure to secure the country first before suspecting sabotage from any general.

“It is obvious the Chief of Defence Staff and his service Chiefs are playing a survival game to stay in office even in the wake of glaring failure to secure the nation. Not even sacrificing over 60 well experienced generals that can do better if given the opportunity to lead the military will not erode the fact that they can not protect the nation in the wake of this aggression.

“The decision to retire course 36 is a great disservice to the nation. The chief of Defence staff General Leo Irabor, as well as Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao are of course 34 and 35 respectively and have reached the mandatory 35 years in service. They have refused to give way to other very experience generals in the force. Noteworthy is the fact that the generals asked to retire are the first degree products of Nigerian Defence Academy, who are well trained, knowledgeable and experienced.

“From the foregoing, It will suffice to conclude that, our nation is facing heightened insecurity, one that has never been witnessed before in the history of the nation. Everything, both human and material resources need to be pulled together to deal with this threat to the people of Nigeria . The desire of the Chief of defense staff, his service chiefs and CDI to remain in office should not be more important than the desire for peace and Unity in the country.”