New Service Chiefs May Prompt Officers Retirement.

Approximately 100 high-ranking officers, including generals, brigadiers-general, air vice marshals, and admirals in the Nigerian Army, Air Force, and Nigerian Navy respectively may be compelled to retire due to the appointment of new service chiefs by the Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu on Monday.

In the wake of upcoming wave of retirements, numerous officers would also be promoted to fill the vacancies left by the retiring generals as part of the reorganization of the services carried out by the new service chiefs.

This development comes six months after 24 major-generals and 38 brigadier-generals were retired, having served the nation for 35 years.

General Lucky Irabor, the former Chief of Defence Staff; Lieutenant-General Farouk Yahaya, the former Chief of Army Staff; Vice-Admiral Awwal Gambo, the former Chief of Naval Staff, and Air Marshal Oludayo Amao, the former Chief of Air Staff, were all immediately retired by Tinubu and immediately were replaced by new military chiefs.

The new service chiefs appointed are Major-General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff.

Kayode Egbetokun, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, was appointed the acting Inspector-General of Police, while Major-General E. Undiandeye became the Chief of Defence Intelligence.

Nuhu Ribadu, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who was recently appointed as the President’s Security Adviser, was promoted to the position of National Security Adviser.

Following precedence, Major-General Musa will hold the rank of a full four-star General, Lagbaja will be decorated with the three-star rank of Lieutenant-General, Ogalla with the same rank equivalent of Vice-Admiral, and Abubakar with the rank of Air Marshal.

However, the President’s official confirmation is required for these ranks to be officially bestowed.

According to The PUNCH, the planned retirement of senior officers across the three services is in accordance with the long-standing military tradition that officers senior to the service chiefs must retire.

In the military, it is customary for senior officers to retire when a junior officer is appointed as a service chief, as senior officers are unlikely to take orders from their juniors.

While the new Chief of Defence Staff is from the 38 Regular Course, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, and Chief of Air Staff are from the 39 Regular Course.

Reliable sources indicate that this means the security chiefs are junior to some generals who are part of Course 37 and Course 38.

An impeccable source explained that approximately 100 high-ranking officers from the Army, Air Force, and Navy could leave the service in the coming weeks due to the military’s practice of not having senior officers serve under their juniors.

A retired general, speaking to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that many top-ranking officers, particularly those from Course 37 and Course 38, are likely to retire. Although the exact number of senior officers expected to retire in the army, air force, and the navy is uncertain, it could be as high as 100.

He stated, ‘’Top officers that would leave the service may be up to 100 because it cuts across the three services. The retirement exercise would not affect RC 39 officers; they would simply go to the Defence Headquarters because the Chief of Defence Staff is RC 38.

Certainly, RC 37 and 38 officers will leave the service. Though, some of them may be retained because the last time, COAS Yahaya, who was a member of RC 37 retained some of his mates. So, he is leaving with his coursemates now.’’

Asked about the number of officers that make up a regular course, the source said there was no fixed number, adding “Along the line, some of them would have been weeded out through retirement, deaths, accidents, sickness and other factors. So, the course members that get to the top level are usually about 20 or 30 per cent of the officers that enrolled together.’’

Senior military officers

Corroborating the retired general, a serving military officer noted, ‘’All officers who are senior to the new service chiefs are supposed to go home; mostly senior officers who are members of Course 37, 38 and some of 39.

“I said some Course 39 members because they are coursemates of the new service chiefs. Some service chiefs may choose to work with some of their course mates and others may decide not to work with them, but 37 and 38 will certainly go.

“Course 39 officers are to go too but some may be allowed to head the tri-services like the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Nigeria Defence College, and Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre “

Another source said the coursemates of the former CDS cannot be retained because they are seniors to the three service chiefs.

He stated, “Yes, the CDS is a member of Course 38, but by military tradition, he is not expected to make any appointment from among his coursemates because the COAS, CNS, and CAS are members of Course 39.

Source: The PUNCH