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Retirement Of Senior Army Officers Linked To Former President Jonathan Sparks Controversy

The retirement of senior officers of the Nigerian Army announced on Friday by the military high command, is generating massive controversy, as affected officers are accusing the military authorities of sectional and political bias.                                                          

Speaking with SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, many of the affected officers claimed that their premature retirement from the military was a result of sectional and political considerations  rather than involvement in corruption and partisan politics. The Army, in a widely circulated press statement, had attributed the retirement of the officers to involvement in corruption and political partisanship.

 On the release of the press statement by the Nigerian Army spokesperson,  Colonel  SK Usman, SaharaReporters requested the identities of affected officers,  but  Usman said it is not in the tradition of the military to give out names of retired officers.  Attempts at getting the number of retired officers from the army spokesperson was similarly rebuffed.

But a sentence in the statement -"People should therefore  not read this out of context"-advising the public against reading meanings into the retirement exercise,  suggested that the process had been less than wholesome.

A list obtained by SaharaReporters showed that a large percentage of the affected officers hail from the southern parts of the country. The list included a former Aide De Camp to former President Goodluck Jonathan, and several high ranking military officers that worked with his predecessor, late President Umar Yar'adua.

In extensive interviews with some of the officers,  they said they believed they were targeted because of their ethnicity and their perceived affiliation to the Peoples Democratic Party and former President Goodluck Jonathan. At least, three Major-Generals from the South-South geo-political zone were reportedly retired.  Major-General Letam Wiwa, a younger brother of the late environmental rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was retired. However, there is no evidence that he was ever investigated for corruption, Col. Tonye Minimah, a younger brother of the former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Kenneth Minimah, was also retired.

 Lieutenant -Colonel FD Kayode, a military commander who served in Gombe State, the only Northern state in which the PDP won overwhelmingly in last year's general elections,  was reportedly retired on the suspicion that he aided in the rigging of the election in favour of the PDP. Also retired is the former Aide-de-Camp to former President Umaru Yar’Adua, Brigadier-General Mustapha Onoyiveta, a Delta State indigene.

Military sources told SaharaReporters that the list of officers for compulsory retirement was compiled by the office of the National Security Adviser, which, on Friday,  passed it to the Minister of Defence, Major General Dan Ali (rtd). Ali then summoned the heads of Navy, Airforce and the Army to serve them a list of officers to be retired from each of the services.


 Many affected officers said they were never involved in corruption or election matters and attributed their retirement to a desire by the government to “cleanse” the military of some officers perceived to be politically powerful. They opined that with three major internal security crises currently plaguing the country, the sack of hugely experienced military officers is to the disadvantage of the country.

A list of some of the officers compulsorily retired on Friday

  1. Maj Gen Mobolaji Koleoso
  2. Maj. General TC Ude
  3. Maj Gen SD Aliyu
  4. Maj Gen LC Ilo
  5. Maj Gen PAT Akem 
  6. Maj Gen IN Ijoma
  7. Maj. Gen O Ejimai
  8. Maj Gen ED Atewe
  9. Maj. General Letam Wiwa -Younger brother of murdered Environmental Rights activist and author, Ken Saro-Wiwa
  10. Maj. Gen FO Alli
  11. Maj. General MY Ibrahim
  12. Brigadier Gen D Abdusalam
  13. Brigadier General MG Ali
  14. Brigadier General AI Onibasa
  15. Brigadier Gen. Mustapha Onoyiveta
  16. Brigadier General Bright Fiboinumama
  17. Brigadier General GO Agachi
  18. Brigadier General Okonkwo
  19. Brig Gen Bashir Mormoni
  20. Brig Gen AH Sa’ad -Former ADC to late President Musa Yar'adua
  21. Brig Gen IMD Lawson
  22. Brig Gen Koko Essien
  23. Brig Gen Ogidi
  24. Brig Gen LN Bello 
  25. Brig. General PE Ekpeyong
  26. Brig Gen Oyefesobi
  27. Col. Ojogbane Adegbe –ADC to former President Goodluck Jonathan
  28. Col. CK Ukoha
  29. Col. Tonye F Minimah –Younger brother of former Chief of Army Staff, LT. General Kenneth Minimah
  30. Col DR Hassan
  31. Col FD Kayode
  32. Col OU Nwankwo
  33. Col. MA Suleiman
  34. Col. Audu
  35. Col. Nicholas Achinze  -Dasuki’s ADC
  36. Lt. Col GC Nyekwu
  37. Lt Col TE Arigbe
  38. Lt. Col C Enechukwu
  39. Lt. Col TO Oladuntoye
  40. Lt. Col CO Amadi
  41. Lt. Col Adimoha
  42. Lt. Col DB Dazang
  43. Lt. Col OC Egemode
  44. Lt. Col Baba Ochankpa
  45. Lt. Col A Mohammed
  46. Lt. Col AS Mohammed
  47. Major TA Williams