The Nigerian military high command has directed officers who are senior to the newly appointed Service Chiefs to turn in their application of voluntary retirement from service. This has become a tradition in the army.
In 1999 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office, all officers above the course timeline of the service chiefs, including those who held political appointments were compulsorily retired.
The order, which was contained in a memo dated June 26 and signed by Maj Gen Y. Yahaya on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, was directed to generals, brigadiers-general, air vice marshals, and rear admirals in the Nigerian Army, Air Force, and Nigerian Navy, who are senior to the new service chiefs.
The retirement of the senior officers across the three services was in line with the long-standing military tradition that officers who were senior to the service chiefs would be retired.
The latest top retirement in the Nigerian Armed forces is not unconnected to the latest appointment of Service Chiefs by the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.
The new Chief of Defense Staff, Major General Christopher Musa is a member of 38 Regular Course, the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral, Emmanuel Ogalla, and the Chief of Air Staff, and Air Vice Marshal, Hassan Abubakar are members of 39 Regular Course.
There are, however, senior officers who are of Course 37 and 38 still in service. According to military tradition, senior officers are not to take orders from their juniors. The affected officers are expected to turn in their voluntary retirement applications not later than Monday July 3.
In order to preserve and uphold the tenets of the military profession which values hierarchy and service discipline, it is important that all officers whose officer cadet courses run seniority above that of the current Service Chiefs disengage from the Service.
“Consequently, I am directed to respectfully request Services to direct all officers with seniority on com- mission above that of NDA Regular Course 39 to submit their applications for voluntary retirement from Service with immediate effect. I am to add that affected officers are to submit their applications to their respective Service Headquarters no later than Mon July 3, 2023.”