Despite its assurance that no officer of the Nigerian Army would be adversely affected y the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, the Nigerian Army has commenced the process of retiring 29 generals from service.
This follows the appointment of Farouk Yahaya as the chief of army staff.
The decision to compulsorily retire the generals occured despite the claim by the Defence Headquarters last week that none of its personnel had been retired following the appointment of Mr Yahaya, who belonged to Regular Course 37.
Mr Yahaya, a major general, from Sokoto State, was named the army chief by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 27.
He succeeded Ibrahim Attahiru, a lieutenant general, who died on May 21 in a plane crash alongside 10 other military personnel while on official assignment to Zaria, Kaduna State.
Shortly after the appointment of the new COAS, there were speculations that between 30 and 45 generals, who are his seniors, may be asked to go home.
The senior generals belong to Regular Courses 35 and 36.
Yahaya was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the late Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a military plane crash in Kaduna alongside 10 other officers on May 21 while on an official assignment.
In the military tradition, it is understood that once a junior is appointed as a service chief, senior officers who are ahead of him are forced to proceed on retirement as it would be abnormal for senior military officers to take orders from their juniors.
With the appointment of Yahaya, a much junior officer, there were fears that high ranking officers would be forced to retire.
However, the Defence Headquarters had, in a statement, dismissed the speculations of massive retirement, saying the retirement of senior officers from the military was always ‘voluntary’.
“At this point, you are all aware of the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya.
“This has stirred up a lot of rumours in the media about mass retirements in the military.
“I wish to use this medium to dispel such unfounded rumours as retirement is only on a voluntary basis for senior officers who desire to do so.
“At this point, no retirements have been authorised by the military high command.”
But in a leaked secret memo on Sunday, it has been revealed that a total of 29 Army Major Generals have been approved to proceed on terminal leave, paving way for their eventual retirement.
According to the memo, the 29 Generals, from regular course 36 have been approved to proceed on terminal leave with effect from June 1.