A legal practitioner, Festus Ogun, says the directive by Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Leo Irabor, asking scores of Generals to resign is illegal.
Those affected are of Regular Course 36 (RC – 36) members and spread across the Air Force, Army and Navy.
The former North-East Theatre Commander conveyed the message to them at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.
At the weekend, Ogun stated that Irabor’s position is not supported by law and therefore violates the constitution.
The TakeItBack Movement Legal Adviser said it was illegal for the Armed Forces to call for the Generals’ resignation in “an unprovoked manner”.
“There is no valid law in this country that supports the insensitive and unfair decision of the military”, he said.
“There is no provision under the Armed Forces Act or any other subsidiary law that supports the order for compulsory resignation of military officers.
“By law, resignation is a choice. So, it really beats the imagination why the Nigerian military would force its officers to exercise their discretion against their very interests.
“Curiously, the Nigerian military is notorious for forcefully dismissing officers in an uncharitable manner.
“In the recent past, those military officers courageous enough to challenge the illegality have always defeated the Nigerian military in court.
“Disturbingly, however, the Nigerian military is known to disrespect court orders directing the reinstatement of illegally dismissed officers.”
The lawyer criticized the Armed Forces for continuing to contemptuously act as though it is a law unto itself.
Demanding an end to “reign of impunity”, the Principal Partner of Festus Ogun Legal charged “the victimized officers” to find the courage to challenge Irabor’s instruction.
Some weeks ago, the CDS intervened in the 2016 forceful retirement of 38 Army officers via a letter (Ref. No. CDS/8/A) to Defence Minister, Bashir Magashi.
He informed Magashi – a retired General – that interventions by Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the National Assembly remained futile.
In January 2020, Justice Rukiya Hasstrup at the National Industrial Court, Abuja, faulted the Army for easing out personnel without fair hearing.
In May 2020, Justice Edith Agbakoba approved that contempt of court charge be filed against military chiefs for disobeying the judicial pronouncements.
Among officers affected were retired Colonel Auwal Suleiman and retired Lt. Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed.
In 2009, Suleiman led the arrest/killing of over 370 terrorists and later scuttled a Boko Haram plot to attack the Presidential Villa.
In 2014, Mohammed supervised the Konduga operation that eliminated over 200 terrorists. Both got official recognition for their gallantry.