New service chiefs: 100 Generals get July 3 deadline to retire

. All officers belonging to Course 38, below affected, ordered to hand in retirement letters immediately

Defence Headquarters has ordered all military officers belonging to the Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 38 and below to immediately proceed on voluntary retirement from service, First News has learnt.

Specifically, it was gathered that the Defence Headquarters has given the affected military officers numbering about 100, a July 3, 2023 deadline to submit their retirement letters to the appropriate quarters and immediately exit the three armed services – the Army, Navy and AirForce.

Recall President Bola Tinubu had recently approved the retirement of General Lucky Irabor, who was the Chief of Defence Staff; Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya, Chief of Army Staff; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and Air Marshal Oludayo Amao, Chief of Air Staff, replacing them with new military chiefs.

The newly appointed Service Chiefs are Maj General Christopher Musa as Chief of Defence Staff; Chief of Army Staff, Maj General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar.

All the new Service Chiefs, except the CDS Musa, belong to the NDA Regular Course 39.

The marching order to the senior officers to immediately proceed on retirement, it was learnt, was in accordance with a long-standing military tradition that senior officers to newly appointed Service Chiefs will be retired.

It is forbidden for senior military officers to take orders from their juniors in service.

The new Service Chiefs, it was gathered, are juniors to some of the generals who belong to Course 37 and Course 38.

But the retirement exercise is not likely to affect some members of the NDA Regular Course 39, as many of them would be deployed to the Defence Headquarters.

An internal memo of the Defence Headquarters dated June 26, 2023 sighted by First News stated that senior officers to the new Service Chiefs in the Army, Navy and AirForce must immediately retire from the Armed Forces “in order to preserve and uphold the tenets of the military profession which values hierarchy and service discipline.” The memo was signed by one Maj General Y. Yahaya on behalf of the new CDS Musa.

The memo listed the affected officers to include Army Major Generals and Brigadier Generals, Naval Rear Admirals and AirForce Air Vice Marshals.

The officers in the above categories, according to the memo, are directed to turn in their retirement letters to their respective Service headquarters by July 3, 2023.

According to the memo, “It would be recalled that the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, recently appointed new CDS and Service Chiefs on 19 June 23.

“Consequently, I am directed to respectfully request Services to direct all officers with seniority on commission above that of NDA Regular Course 39 to submit their application for voluntary retirement from service with immediate effect.

“It is important that all officers whose officer cadet courses with seniority above that of the current Service Chiefs disengage from Service.”

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