At least 25 Generals have been given six weeks to voluntarily retire from the Nigerian Armed Forces following the appointment of their juniors as service chiefs last Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Kenneth Minimah disclosed this yesterday while handing over to his successor, Major General Tukur Buratai at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.
By army tradition, the affected Generals cannot serve under a junior officer and must retire mandatorily.
In his speech, Minimah, who said that some very senior unnamed officers have been given notices of retirement, urged those affected by the development to take the notifications for retirement in good faith.
He joked that while the affected officers were given six weeks’ notice to proceed on retirement, the retirements of the former service chiefs were simply relayed to them on the radio.
In spite of the mounting ravages of the Boko Haram insurgents, Minimah boasted that the Army under his control was able to reclaim all Nigerian territories taken by the sect and reduce them to petty thieves and a band of criminals.
“Today, I am leaving behind an Army that can hold its own against any adversary without batting an eyelid. It is an Army that has vowed never again to concede any inch of Nigeria to terrorists. It is a legacy I am leaving behind and I implore you to sustain it.
“As I hand over today, I am happy to inform you that the Boko Haram terrorists’ insurgency is at a certain defeat.
“During my tenure, we were able to reclaim all territories earlier lost to the terrorists, sufficiently degrade their potency and reduced them to a band of criminals and petty thieves.
“Success did not come cheap. It came with the sweat and blood of all of us. In the face of unusual events, we had to take unusual actions. Some may adjudge us as being too strict especially in dealing with cases of cowardice and indiscipline in the field.
“But, we had to do what we must to arrest the drift towards chaos that the army was heading. I am happy that the result in the field today justifies our actions,” Minimah said.
After receiving the mantle of leadership from Minimah, the new COAS, Buratai, assured Nigerians that priority would be given to the maintenance of strict discipline and professionalism during his tenure.
“Your tenure as COAS has brought discipline into the army. Discipline must be maintained. The highest standard of discipline must be maintained.”
He pledged his loyalty to the President and asked officers and men of the military to be loyal to constituted authorities in the country.