The Nigerian Army on Tuesday failed to state the specific offence that warranted the dismissal of an officer, Abdulfatai Mohammed when its representatives appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
At the investigative hearing, the Army was represented by the Director of Legal Services, Yusuf Shallangwa, a brigadier general; and the military secretary, I.O. Rabiu, a Major General.
The hearing followed a petition to the Senate by Mr. Mohammed, a lieutenant colonel, one of the officers compulsorily retired in June last year in manners that breached the rules of disengagement in the Nigerian military.
PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed that the Army breached its own rule by retiring most of the officers without query or indictment by any panel, thereby raising question of arbitrariness.
At the hearing on Tuesday, the chairman of the probe committee of the Senate, Samuel Anyanwu, asked the Army officers present to respond to the allegation of arbitrariness contained in Mr. Mohammed’s petition.
Mr. Shallangwa, however, replied that the Army understood a similar petition had been sent to the presidency. And “we are awaiting the outcome,” he said.
But the Senate rejected Mr. Shallangwa’s evasive response, stressing that the Senate’s work in respect of the petition could not be dependent on the outcome of the actions of another arm of government.
Then, Mr. Shallangwa read from the Armed Forces rules all the grounds that could warrant compulsory retirement or dismissal from service.
Asked which of the offences was committed by Mr. Mohammed, the Director of Army Legal Services failed to talk, after stuttering for a moment, causing wild laughter to fill the room.
Meanwhile, over a year after the affected officers petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the law, seeking justice, the president has neither acknowledged nor replied their letters.
The report of the Senate committee is being awaited. But Mr. Anyanwu stressed the Army must comply with the law.