Minister of Defence Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali yesterday justified the retirement of 38 senior officers of the Nigeria Army, saying they were found guilty of “professional corruption,” thence they were sent packing.
Dan-Ali said this while answering questions after presenting a paper to the participants of National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria Course 24, Abuja that the investigation into the issues that led to the compulsory retirement of the senior officers was thoroughly carried out, as it is the tradition in the Nigeria Army and the officers were found to be guilty, even after given their testimonies through interrogation.
The minister said, “Of course they were giving fair hearing, a board called them and they went and testified. Don’t forget that in the military there is no half way of doing things, the moment you are found wanting, you have to succumb and you will go,” he said.
Also, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai yesterday explained that the Nigerian Army followed due diligence before arriving at the decision to retire the 38 officers.
Answering questions from newsmen after a visit to Communication Technology Minister Adebayo Shittu, Buratai explained that the process that led to the retirement of the officers started with enquiry from one division GOC to the other after which the findings were subjected to legal review before the recommendations were forwarded to higher authority for consideration.
Buratai said, “We started with enquiry from one division GOC to the other. After that, we subjected it to legal review, after the legal review, we forwarded our recommendations to higher authority for consideration. So, it took us time.”
“Like court process, we have our own process also. Our administrative process, dovetailing into our legal review and so on. I think this is the better time, there is no other better time than now.”
In a related development, Acting Director Army Public Relations (AgDAPR) Col. Sani Usman said the lists of officers published by some media organisations (not The Guardian) are false and contrary to what truly obtained.
Usman, therefore, said members of the public should disregard the unconfirmed published names, describing the conduct of the media houses as unethical and unfair.
“This is worrisome as some individuals and media houses went to the ridiculous extent of publishing up to 50 unconfirmed outrageous names, even of still serving officers as being retired,” Usman said.