BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA—In its bid to reposition the Nigerian Army for expected operational challenges in the coming year and beyond, the Nigerian Army Council has commenced issuing terminal letters to over 40 generals preparatory to their leaving the force.
The letters from the Military Secretary’s office said the letters are being issued to officers of the rank of colonel, brigadiers-general and majors-general and the letters take effect from January 2014. Many of the officers are to commence their retirement with immediate effect from this December.
Among the generals who have so far received the letters were some Principal Staff Officers at Army and Defence headquarters, Commandants of Tri-service institutions, Corps Commanders as well as those of Army-owned training institutions. Officers from TRADOC, Divisions and Corps headquarters are also involved.
Vanguard gathered that while some of the Generals have served the mandatory 35 years in service, others have been caught up by the age on rank requirement for retirement while some can no longer be promoted on the ground that they failed three opportunities given them by the promotion board.
Army Chief on repositioning
Vanguard gathered that the decision of the Army authorities to issue the terminal leave letters followed the determination of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Onyeabor Azubuike Ihejirika to commence the repositioning of the Nigerian Army for the expected operational challenges in year 2014 and beyond.
When Vanguard sought to know why such a large number of generals would be allowed to leave service even when President Goodluck Jonathan had in the past, reiterated the need to keep these officers that cost the nation colossal amounts of money to train, an Army source said: “Yes, the services of the officers would still be needed by the Army but it will be in a different capacity.
“To ensure that the top of the service is not too heavy, thereby hindering deserved promotions and movements (postings) of officers with new ideas and innovations, these officers (retirees) have to be retired in line with the Armed Forces Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS).
“However, the experts among them whose services are still relevant, will be deployed to our training, engineering and tactical institutions to continue to impart knowledge and practical experience to upcoming soldiers”, the source said.
According to the source, “the ever dynamic internal security crisis involving Boko Haram, kidnapping, armed robbery and renewed banditry along the nation’s border areas are also areas the Army intends to pay more attention in the coming months.
“Towards this end, tested and highly trained officers who have garnered both local and international experience will not just be discarded. Their services will be required in strategic planning, training and support in dealing with moves aimed at containing and curtailing the myriads of security challenges facing the nation”.
It will be recalled that 27 majors-general and over 50 brigadiers-general of the Nigerian Army were recently promoted by the Nigerian Army Council.