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Jolted By Large Requests For Disengagement, Nigerian Army Warns Against Early Retirement, Loss Of Interest In Military Service

Following the reports of resignations by many officers and men amid the security challenges facing the country, the Nigerian Army has said it will no longer tolerate loss of interest in military service or lack of promotion as the basis for discharge.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General General Farouk Yahaya, in a letter addressed to various departments, formations of the Nigerian Army and the Ministry of Defence, said service personnel leaving the service at will did not augur well for the Army.

In the letter dated December 23, 2022, signed by Brigadier General Oladapo Oyelade, the COAS argued that officers leaving the Army must advance cogent reasons, stressing that loss of interest in military service would no longer be accepted.

Though he acknowledged that military service was voluntary in Nigeria, the army chief noted that  opting out without serving the length of years prescribed in the military was inimical to the service considering the resources and efforts that had been put into training most of the applicants, which was meant to be utilised for the benefits of the system.

Yahaya, therefore, warned that requests for discharge or retirement without cogent reasons would no longer be entertained or granted by the Discharge Board, which assesses applications.

The letter read, “Military service in Nigeria is a voluntary service. Accordingly, able-bodied men and women apply to join to serve the colour after which they apply for re-engagement or choose to voluntarily discharge. Others in the course of service decide to go on retirement or discharge before their run out date.

“Going by the NA Forecast of Events, the Discharged Board is designed to hold quarterly to afford personnel opportunities to disengage for several reasons other than completion of ROD. The Board exercise is held bi-annually first to gather appreciable numbers of applicants, who may wish to disengage, and to be treated in bulk, while also ensuring that the process is handled in a controlled and uniformed manner.

“Admittedly, service in the NA is voluntary and since it’s not a conscript army, any personnel could opt to leave at different times. Conversely, considering the resources and efforts that have been put into training most of the applicants, which requires that skills and expertise acquired is utilised for the benefits of the system, opting out without serving the length prescribed in the colour is inimical to the system.

“Also, in order to ensure (that) the expertise acquired is not easily let off by the service and to recoup the investment made to the benefits of the nation, service personnel discharging at will does not augur well for the NA. However, it was observed recently that most at times soldiers come out with various excuses to go on retirement and discharge, which are not cogent enough or professional.’’

The CoAS directed commanders to educate the soldiers under their command regarding the flimsy excuses given by those leaving the service.

He added, “In (the) light of the forgoing, you are kindly requested to educate troops under command that henceforth, reasons such as loss of interest in military service will no longer be tolerated as (the) basis for discharge. This reason is to say the least lame and therefore not accepted. Personnel are expected to explain the reason behind lack of interest e.g. ‘I do not want to fight for the country again’, ‘I have not been promoted etc’, to enable the service to make necessary amendments for the betterment of the system. Accordingly, other cogent reasons could be made for discharge from service otherwise such request would not be granted.”

 However, sources informed our correspondent that many of those who left the service recently did not plead loss of interest or lack of promotion in their applications as such an excuse would be summarily dismissed and the application for discharge rejected.

 ‘’Soldiers leaving the service are smart enough to know that claiming loss of interest as a reason for applying for discharge will not advance their applications. Even when some of them have genuinely lost interest due to various career issues, they usually presented reasons that the board found difficult to reject,’’ a former soldier disclosed.

The PUNCH

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