The recent retirement of 51 top officers of the Nigerian Army has caused a raging controversy as those affected have indicated their reluctance to pull out of the service.
Some of the affected officers had written to the Army Council to appeal for extension in order to use the extra period to build their own houses. But the Army Council turned down the requests for lack of strong reasons and on the grounds that granting them would be destructive to established norms in the army. Members of the Council were of the view that granting an extension to departing officers of the service would encourage corruption in the military which was said to be injurious to national development. There were fears that putting a retiring top officer, whose preoccupation is to build a house for retirement in a strategic formation could be counter-productive.
The Army Council comprises the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, and others. The President, who is represented in the council by the Minister of Defence, is chairman of the council which sits once in every four months. The 51 retired officers include 12 majors-general, 24 brigadiers general and 15 colonels.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen Bola Koleosho said that he had no comment on the issue of the retirement. During a press conference a fortnight ago Koleosho had said that the army carried out the directive of the council in accordance with the rules and regulations of the service.
Investigations showed that the reluctance of the retired officers to go resulted in the compulsory retirement of 18 of the top officers by the army. With their compulsory retirement, the affected officers cannot serve the nation as governors, senators, or members of the House of Representatives, or in any other capacity. The army spokesman said during the press conference that the affected officers could write to the Army Council for a rconsideration of the decision to retire them compulsorily.