38 Senior Army Officers Petition Buhari, Accuse Defence Minister, Others Of Victimization
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali , Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai have been accused of victimisation by 38 senior army officials.
The senior officers, who have been sacked, have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over what they described as wrongful dismissal from the Nigerian Army.
The retired officers alleged that Ali, Olonisakin and Bruatai abused their offices with impunity by maliciously punishing innocent officers.
In a petition dated August 22, 2017 and addressed to President Buhari by the law firm of Abdul Muhammed LP, the officers recalled that at the beginning of this administration, two panels were instituted to inquire into allegations of electoral malpractices by Nigerian Army personnel and allegations of corruption associated with arms procurement under the office of National Security Adviser (NSA).
The officers also noted that sometime in June 2016, the Nigerian Army under the leadership of the trio of Ali, Olonisakin and Buratai presided over an abrupt sitting of the Army Council that saw to the punishment by compulsory retirement of the 38 senior officers of the Nigerian Army.
The petitioners also told President Buhari that after their unjust retirement, some of the officers wrote letters of redress for the president’s matured consideration of their individual cases, through the Chief of Defence Staff as provided by the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service (Officers) 2012 but the military authorities deliberately refused to show proof of transmitting the said letters to the president as required by regulations.
The petitioners argued that even though it was claimed that these officers were “retired”, they were actually dismissed going by the proper construction of their circumstances.
“I must point out that the very public nature of the declaration of compulsory retirement of the 38 officers has undermined the individual reputations of these senior army officers and frustrated their respective efforts as securing a livelihood for their families,” said Abdul Muhammed, who signed the petition.
The petitioners told President Buhari that 18 of the senior army officers that were dismissed did not at any time appear before any one of the two panels that were set up or any other inquiry or investigation for that matter.
According to the petition, “the 18 officers were never investigated for any infraction, they were never indicted, they were never tried and they were never convicted of any disciplinary or criminal breaches whatsoever.
“Additionally, many of these officers have no relationship whatsoever with election duties or procurement office as falsely alleged by army leadership. Most importantly, Your Excellency, none of the 38 senior officers that were compulsorily retired was at any time ever charged or tried by a court martial or found guilty of any offence in line with due process of the armed forces extant rules and regulations, before they respectively heard of their retirement in the media. Interestingly, none of these officers has been informed of the particulars of any alleged offence till date,” the petitioners explained.