By Tordue Salem

ABUJA— THE Defence Minister, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode and his deputy, Alhaji Murtala Yar’Adua, are to appear before the House of Representatives tomorrow over the alleged premature retirement of 79 army and naval officers.

Also summoned to appear before the House Committee on Defence are the three Service Chiefs.

Vanguard gathered, weekend, that the decision to invite the ministers and the Service Chiefs followed a barrage of petitions sent to the Presidency and the Defence Committees of the Senate and the House by the affected officers, urging them to look into the mass purge of the officers.

The retired officers whose ranks ranged from Captain to Brigadier-General, claimed in the petitions that they were unjustifiably retired on the ground of age, but want the National Assembly to cause a reversal of the sack by the relevant authorities.

Most of the petitioners were said to have claimed that they had neither reached the retirement age nor served the mandatory number of years in the forces before being laid-off.

Others claimed they were booted out just when they were about facing the Promotion Board, which could have raised their ranks, having meritoriously rendered  services to the country.

It was further gathered that the development was already causing ripples in the military.

The committees, it was also learnt, is piqued as a result of the deepening fracas in the defence sector, which might dampen the morale of military personnel.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Mr.  Oluwole Oke, told Vanguard that his committee had received several petitions.

He said: “Yes, we are aware of the petitions and they will be looked into and resolved. Yes, we are meeting with the Defence Ministers tomorrow. We are representatives of Nigerians and whenever we receive complaints we try to look into them. That is one of the reasons we are here. I won’t say more than that until we hear from all the sides involved.”


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