© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Army says it has no obligation to tell dismissed officers why they were disengaged
But the claim contradicts Armed Forces Act
THE Nigeria Army says it is not under any obligation to let a disengaged officer know the reasons for his or her dismissal.
This was made known by David Ighodaro, an officer in the legal services department of the Nigeria Army, while giving witness during the hearing of a suit filed by Mohammed Suleiman, one of the 38 senior army officers that were compulsorily retired in 2016.
Many of the officers said they were not issued any query or reprimand neither did they undergo any kind of internal disciplinary measure before their controversial dismissal. Some of them said they saw their names on national television and newspapers before their dismissal letters got to them.
Mohammed Suleiman, one of the affected officers, had dragged the Army before the National Industrial Court (NIC) asking the court to declare his dismissal null and void and order his reinstatement.
Appearing before the court as a defence witness on Monday, Ighodaro said the army reserved the right to hire and fire any of its officers who goes against his condition of service.
“The army reserves the right to hire and fire its officers including the claimant for actions, conducts, among others which bother on indiscipline, unprofessionalism, threat to national security, among other reasons,” Premium Times quoted Ighodaro as saying.
“The army council has no obligation or duty to even give reasons for the compulsory retirement of the claimant.”
This claim is, however, false. Checks by The ICIR reveal that an officer could only be dismissed after having gone through a court-martial, according to the Armed Forces Act.
Under cross-examination, Ighodaro said he was not aware if Suleiman was ever subjected to any internal disciplinary measure before he was summarily dismissed.
Following Ighodaro’s testimony, the prosecution counsel informed the court that it was closing its case and would await the judgement of the court.
The case was subsequently adjourned to September 26, 2019, for adoption of written addresses.
A similar case involving a dismissed army officer, Danladi Hassan, had been decided in favour of the claimant in January this year.
In that judgement, Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court ruled that the letter of dismissal issued to Hassan was null and void, and ordered the Nigeria Army to reinstate him with all his rights and privileges.