…as 690 out of 2787 retire
By Evelyn Usman
Out of 2,787 Military officers who were enlisted into the Armed Forces in 1984, only 690 of them made it through the retirement training course 2/2018 weekend, at the Armed Force Resettlement Centre, Oshodi , while the rest 2097 were reportedly slain during operations and road accidents.
Statistics at Vanguard’s disposal revealed that the Nigerian Army recorded the largest casualty, with over the lose of 1137 soldiers.
Record showed 1527 soldiers were enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 1984 but only 390 graduated weekend.
For the Nigerian Navy, 680 personnel were enlisted same year but only 144 were fortunate to undergo the reintegration course while the Nigerian Air force had 135 graduands out of 550 personnel that started 34- years ago.
Although the specific operations that led to the death of the soldiers were not specified, it was gathered that most of them died during operational exigences, road traffic incidents and illness. Others who could not make it to the retirement training, as gathered, was as a result of discipline.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, President Muhamadu Buhari ,who presided over the disengagement, described the occasion as a coincidence, noting that the graduands were enlisted into the Armed Forces same year he was Head of state.
He pointed out hat the essence of the six months training course was to prepare and give them the requisite rudiments for a speedy reintegration into civil life after rendering service to their fatherland.
Represented by the Chief of Administration, Defense Headquarters, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abba , the President said that his expectation was for them to effectively reflect the level of knowledge and skill acquired in their post service life.
Reminding them that much was expected from them as ex-Service en, he said ‘ ” You are all aware of the security challenges confronting our country, particularly the insurgency in the North East, cattle rustling , farmers / herdsmen clashes , kidnappings, illegal bunkering/ pipeline vandalism, socio- ethnic crisis and other criminal activities across the country .
” Be reminded that as retired personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, much is expected from you in contributing your quota. I am aware that you had lecture on Basic Intelligence and Security aimed at sharpening your intelligence gathering skills towards surmounting any threat to life and property within your area of domicile or business concern . This will go a long way in curtailing and ameliorating these vices in order to enhance safety and security essential for meaningful socio- economic development as well as enhanced national security”.
Federal government, according to him, was working towards improving welfare of servicemen, with a view to ensuring that they were properly resettled after service to their fatherland.
He was however quick to warn them against going into new social status life style above their means as well as total abstinence from commensurate physical exercises and engaging in non- lucrative ventures, reminding that post service life has its inherent challenges which included” inadequate resources , misuse of retirement benefits , negative influences from friends and family members , poor management of both mental and physical heath as well as life devoid of uniform – induced immunity”.
In his opening remark, , the Commandant, NAFRC, Air Vice Marshal AS Liman, who reiterated that the centre’s mission was to give quality training to personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria who were about to retire from active service, disclosed that out of the graduating Servicemen / women, 390 were from the Nigerian Army, 144 from the Nigerian Navy and 135 from the Nigerian Air force”
Addressing them, he said , ” I urge you to make good use of the skills you have acquired during your stay here.
” It is imperative that you uphold the professional ethics that you have imbibed over the years by remaining obedient to to constituted authority”.
Over 80% of the trainees according to him, opted for agriculture, adding that the present management team was resolute at transforming the Centre into a modern training institution that would favourable compete with any of its type in the world.
The number of graduands as gathered, was the highest since inception of the training centre.
During an interview section with spouses of the retiring officers, they expressed gratitude to God for seeing their husbands through. While some of them described their husbands service years as a challenging one for their families, others said they had no choice than to brace up to the moments as they supported them in prayers.