Date: July 1, 2023- In a significant development, the Defence Headquarters has issued a directive for the voluntary retirement of a group of senior military officers following the recent appointment of new service chiefs by President Bola Tinubu. The Defence Headquarters, through a statement released on Monday by Maj-Gen. Y. Yayaha on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, announced that all senior officers above the rank of “Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 39” have been instructed to proceed on voluntary retirement.
The statement clarified that the nature of military operations does not allow for senior officers to take orders from their juniors, necessitating the retirement of approximately 100 high-ranking military personnel. This group includes Generals, Brigadiers-General, Air Vice Marshals, and Admirals from the Nigerian Army, Navy, and Air Force within the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The statement, released on Monday, stated, “I am directed to respectfully request services to direct all officers with seniority on commission above that of Nigerian Defence Academy(NDA) regular course 39 to submit their applications for voluntary retirement from service with immediate effect.” It further added, “I am to add that affected officers are to submit their applications to their respective service headquarters no later than on Monday, July 3, 2023.”
Interestingly, the newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Christopher Musa, who was a participant in the 38th regular course, falls within the category of officers not affected by the retirement order. Similarly, the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar, who participated in the 39th regular course, have also been appointed by President Tinubu to lead their respective branches of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
As a result of this retirement order, all former service chiefs fall within the group of generals compelled to proceed on retirement, marking a significant generational shift in the military leadership of Nigeria. The voluntary retirement of these senior officers aims to create a more streamlined command structure and pave the way for fresh perspectives and approaches within the Nigerian military.
This development signals President Tinubu’s commitment to reforming and revitalizing the Nigerian Armed Forces as part of broader efforts to enhance security and address ongoing challenges in the country. The retirement of these top military brass presents an opportunity for new leadership to steer the armed forces towards greater effectiveness and efficiency in their mission to safeguard Nigeria’s sovereignty and protect its citizens.