The authorities of the Nigerian Army on Thursday said the recent retirement of 51 officers of the service had no ethnic or religious colouration.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Bola Koleosho, who said this while addressing journalists in Abuja, noted that some people had been circulating text messages, alleging ethnic and religious bias in the retirement.
The text messages, he said were not only untrue but mischievious, adding that the retirement was carried out in compliance with constitutional provisions and rules in the service.
He explained that the officers were notified and given six months to put in their retirement letters in accordance with the regulations of the service.
Koleosho added that the exercise was based on age ceiling for the various ranks and the stipulated 35 years of service.
He urged all aggrieved persons to follow due process by appealing to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Chief of Defence Staff instead of resorting to ethno-religious sentiments.
He said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an anonymous text message making the rounds in the public, alleging forceful retirements of some officers.
“The administration of the NA as in any organisation is governed by rules and regulations. All the 51 officers retired have been notified earlier in the year of their retirement and many of them had voluntarily written regarding the same.
“Subsequently, the Army Council approved their retirement from service having attained the mandatory age ceiling for each retirement rank.
“Retirement from any noble profession, especially from the Army is considered a noble exit which every officer hopes and prays for. To turn around to give such a milestone exercise a negative flavour is, to say, the least, mischievous.”
An insight into the exercise showed that 18 of the officers were compulsorily retired.
Commandant of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Maj.Gen MD Isah, who was removed from his position following the bomb attacks on the Jaji Cantonment in November, was among the 18 retired officers.
But Koleosho, who fielded questions from journalists, said Isah’s retirement had nothing to do with the Jaji attacks.
The Army Director of Information said the service had not started acting on the report of the panel of investigation set up to look into the Jaji incident.