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Nigerian Army officers reject offer to convert disengagement to voluntary retirement

Nigerian Army officers compulsorily retired in 2016 have rejected an offer to convert their disengagement to voluntary retirement.

One of them, Colonel Danladi Hassan, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, insisted the Army obey the Court of Appeal order to reinstate him with full benefits.

Hassan, Colonel Mohammed Suleiman, Colonel Chidi Ukoha, Lieutenant Colonel Abdulfatai Mohammed and others were forced to retire in 2016.

The affected officers were nine Major Generals, 11 Brigadier Generals, seven colonels and 11 Lieutenant Colonels.

In 2019, the National Industrial Court (NIC) sitting in Abuja ordered that the Nigerian Army reabsorb Colonel Hassan. The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

But the ruling is yet to be respected, prompting the officers to petition the Green Chamber of the National Assembly to wade into the matter.

Chairman of the Committee, Jerry Alagbaoso later wrote to the Army demanding their appearance before the lawmakers.

At its last sitting, the House told the authorities to put their position in writing and present it at the resumed hearing.

The Army responded via a letter, with ref HQ DLS/A/GI/300/56 dated October 7, 2022, addressed to Alagbaoso. The presentation was made by Major P. C. Obinyan.

The military recommended that the petitioner retain his substantive rank of Colonel, and offered gratuity, pension, certificate of military service and a retired officers’ identity Card.

“The petitioner’s additional request for reinstatement and payment of salaries and allowances for the period he did not work is difficult because of the peculiarity of Military Service, under the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service Officer 2021 particularly Chapter 1 Paragraph 01.04 (I).

“Bringing the petitioner to service as a Colonel when his juniors are already on the rank of General will affect military discipline as he will not be 100% loyal to his superiors who were his juniors; thereby having a negative effect on military command and control”, the memo reads in part.

The Army said in the interest of justice, the recommendation is for the petitioner to write to the Army Council to convert his compulsory retirement to voluntary retirement.

Responding at the Reps sitting, Colonel Hassan maintained his stance that the Army obey the subsisting judgement of the Court of Appeal which ordered reinstatement.

The committee advised Hassan to study the document submitted by the Army authorities and decide on what to do next.

In 2020, DAILY POST published the full list of the 38 officers forcefully disengaged one year after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.

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