25 Nigeria Generals Face Retirement

Following the appointment of new Service Chiefs on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari, military sources say about 25 Major Generals may proceed on retirement when the Senate confirms the new appointments.

Indications also emerged, on Tuesday, in Abuja that President Buhari’s forthcoming trip to the United States of America this month for extensive bilateral, economic and financial discussions with US President Barrack Obama, the need to engage his hosts about the terrorism challenges as well as Nigeria’s military capability to tackle the menace conclusively, necessitated the sack of the service chiefs last Monday.

According to a report in the Vanguard, his appointment as Chief of Army Staff, Major-General T.Y. Buratai who is a Course 29 regular intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), all Major-Generals from Course 25, 26, and 27 may have to leave the service voluntarily while a few on Course 28 may be posted to Defence Headquarters.

The sources noted that General Buratai may decide to post his course mates (Regular 29) and one or two of Course 28 officers to Defence Headquarters.

The source added that the appointment of Major-General Abayomi Olonishakin, a Course 25 regular intake, as the new Chief of Defence Staff, may be the leeway needed for Course 27 and 28 intakes to move up to DHQ.

The military sources specifically said that those who are course mates to the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General KTJ Minimah and those of Course 26 to 28 may have to retire since they cannot serve under their junior.

It was reliably gathered that the appointments of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and that of the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) is the exclusive preserve of the President, while only the CDS and the other service chiefs are the ones subject to Senate clearance.

In fact, it was learnt that former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd) had three weeks ago informed the new Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan to proceed on retirement leave. However, luck smiled on him when the President on Monday announced him as the new CDI, taking over from Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi.

.Why service chiefs were sacked;

On what informed the sack of the service chiefs on Monday, very reliable security sources say; “America might wish to know why the military commanders (sacked service chiefs) were still in place, when after several months of being in control and getting huge financial support from the Jonathan administration, Boko Haram is still biting hard.

“They will present Buhari with the figures and ask how this huge amount of money was spent, and for what purposes? Why is the result not showing? This is because America will tell President Buhari point blank, that there is a package to assist Nigeria conquer this menace but it will be on the grounds that a new team that is tested and will spare no effort in ending the Boko Haram mayhem is emplaced.”

The source said President Buhari will now be able to look Obama in the face and say, “I have a new team in place, trusted, with integrity, and primed to actualize my mission of ending Boko haram insurgency”.

Continuing, the source said, “Buhari will tell the Americans that he has set machinery in motion to investigate how the huge amounts of money so far released to fight insurgency was spent and why after such release to the security agencies, many of the equipment promised, to deal with Boko Haram, are nowhere to be seen.

“President Buhari will also show the Americans a blueprint of how he intends to employ new resources, improve and equip the armed forces, to ensure that any suspected corrupt tendencies are nipped in the bud”, the source added.

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said, yesterday, that the Senate was ready to perform its constitutional duty by screening the new service chiefs immediately the upper legislative chambers gets the list from the Presidency.

In a statement, yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, the Senate President also clarified the misconception of an earlier tweet where Saraki was quoted as saying the Senate does not need to screen or confirm the new service chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said in the statement that “we want to make it abundantly clear that based on inquiries made to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on whether the Senate was consulted before the appointment of new Service Chiefs was announced, he had in response tweeted that the appointment of service chiefs is the exclusive function of the President as stipulated by the Constitution.

“Let it be known that his comment is now being misinterpreted to say the Senate will neither screen nor confirm the new service chiefs. This is far from the truth.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Saraki has said his comment is without prejudice to extant laws and court pronouncements on the issue and, therefore, that the Senate will do the needful when the list of new service chiefs is sent to it by Mr. President.

“Saraki in a new tweet, yesterday, said: “This is to clarify the earlier position which was not up to date and does not represent the position of the Senate President on the issue of screening of the newly appointed service chiefs. The Senate will perform its constitutional duty when it receives communication from the President on the appointments.”

The Senate would resume plenary next week, July 21.

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