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Nigerian Army 'We were unfairly treated,' sacked officers condemn military authority

But some of the affected officers said they were sacked for being close to some military chiefs during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

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Some of the senior army officers who were sacked by the Nigerian Army high command last week have described the action as unfair and unfortunate.

The director, Army Public Relations, Col Sani Kukasheka Usman, on Friday, June 10, announced the compulsory retirement of 38 army officers, saying the affected officers were retired "based on service exigencies and in line with the Armed Forces Act, CAP A20 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004."

He said their retirement was connected to the role defence contracts which is being investigated by a Presidential committee and the 2015 general elections.

But some of the affected officers said they were sacked for being close to some military chiefs during the Goodluck Jonathan administration including the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

“Obviously, the new military establishment came with the mindset of doing away with any officer who  worked closely with the former leadership of the service,” one of the affected officers, did not want to be named told Daily Trust.

“That’s why we were portrayed as villains in the eye of the press and the world at large, and surreptitiously removed from the system. This is rather unfortunate. We are not saying we are all saints; however, I feel we are not that bad. Of course, we are all humans who are bound to make infractions here and there. But, honestly speaking, the way and manner we were humiliated out of the army calls for reflection on how things are done in this part of the world, considering  our contributions to the survival of this country in the last few years."

According to a document obtained by the newspaper on  Sunday, June 19, the officers were compulsorily retired based on provisions of chapter 9, section 09.02 (a) of the Conditions of Service of the Army, which states that, “An officer may, at any time, be removed from the service, be called upon to retire or resign his commission on disciplinary ground.”

One of the officers however said most of them have decided to explore the option of appeal as provided in section 09.02 (e) which states that, “An officer called upon to retire, resign or relinquish his commission shall, if he so desire, appeal to Mr President, the Commander-in-Chief, through the Chief of Defence Staff within 30 days to have his case considered.”

“I am not due for retirement. An average officer is always loyal to the government and the military establishment. And when any of them change, your loyalty must change automatically. However, as far as the new authority is concerned, every officer who worked under the previous system is disgruntled,” the officer said.

READ: ‘We didn’t retire any innocent officer,’ Buratai

Since their compulsory retirement, most of the officers had remained quiet due to their oath of military calling.

Those who broke their silence spoke anonymously and some through their families.

“There was nothing like fair hearing before we were sacked. I was driving when an insider broke the shocking story to me. It was two days after that I got my letter, which did not precisely state the actual crime I committed,” a lieutenant-colonel said.

Another officer said he was relieved of the duties due to his closeness to some people in Dasuki's office.

“I gathered that they checked my call log and found out that I was communicating with someone in the office of the NSA. I never participated in election duty or arms procurement as they alleged.  I was never invited to give my own side of the story, but I received the retirement letter,” he said.

It was gathered that some of the sacked officers in the Niger Delta region and the volatile North-East zone.

According to some of them, they were accused of being ‘too close’ to previous service chiefs and worked in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 general elections.

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