Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Senate probes Nigerian Army over arbitrary dismissal of officers

The controversial dismissal of 38 officers of the Nigerian Army is now a subject of Senate investigation, after one of the affected officers, Abdulfatai Mohammed, petitioned the legislature. 

 Mr. Mohammed’s petition was received by the Senate through Ovie Omo-Agege, APC-Delta, on July 19 this year.

Consequently, the petition was referred to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions chaired by Samuel Anyanwu, PDP-Imo, for investigation. The first hearing of the committee over the petition has been slated for Wednesday, according to a correspondence seen by PREMIUM TIMES. 

At the hearing, the parties, including the Army and the affected officer, will make presentations in connection with the petition, alleging arbitrariness in the manner the officers were removed from service by the military. 

The army had in June 2016 announced the compulsory retirement of the 38 officers on different ranks on the grounds of alleged professional misconduct during the 2015 general elections, as well as involvement in the $2.1 billion arms procurement scandal.

However, our series of investigations revealed that the Army breached its own rule by retiring most of the officers without query or indictment by any panel, thereby raising question of arbitrariness.

Many of the officers, like Mr. Mohammed, had their careers abruptly cut short for reasons that smack of high-level arbitrariness by authorities of the Army, according to our findings. 

Nothing has come of the efforts of the officers to get justice and be reinstated using several windows afforded them by law. 

At least thrice, they have petitioned the Presidency. But at no time has any of them been replied. 

The petition to the Senate is the latest of their efforts at seeking reinstatement.

( Premium Times)

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