60 NAVAL OFFICERS DRAG FORCE TO PRESIDENCY OVER RETIREMENT

By NBF News
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Over 60 Nigerian Navalofficers have dragged the hierarchy of the force to the Presidency over what they described as 'wrongful retirement.'

The 60 officers, who were within the rank of Lieutenants (Captain equivalent in the Nigerian Army) said they were not retired according to the stipulated laws governing the Nigerian military.

They pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan to step into the matter and save their career, which they said was being thrown to the dogs by the hierarchy of the force.

Indeed, they said while the 60 of them were singled out for retirement, some of their colleagues of the same age bracket and rank had been left alone apparently because they had some 'godfathers' behind them.

The Navy spokesman, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, however, told Daily Sun on phone that the Navy was magnanimous with the officers, adding that some of them had stayed beyond the stipulated age limit before retirement.

Quoting the Harmonized Terms and Condition of Service for the military (HTACOS) and the Nigerian Navy Order (NNO), the officers, through their solicitors said the retirement was a deliberate move by the Nigerian Navy to destroy their career.

They said based on the Nigerian Navy Order, with which the Nigerian Navy commissioned them officers, they were supposed to be retired compulsorily if they remained at the rank of lieutenants at the age of 52.

They told Daily Sun that they had no objection with this order of the force, as they were aware of the laws governing the organization before applying to be commissioned as Special Duty (SD) officers under that law.

However, few years into their being commissioned officers, the NNO was amended, reducing the retirement age for officers in their type of commission to 49 years for lieutenants.

Similarly, the Nigerian Armed Forces began the amendment of its laws also and came forth with what is today known as Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS).

The HTACOS, it was gathered reduced the retirement age for the SD officers from 49 as stipulated in the service orders to 45 years, explaining that despite this reduction, the service order and the HTACOS should be allowed to run side by side.

The officers said while the NNO was being applied for the commissioning of SD officers, even in 2011, the Navy had refused to apply strictly the provision of the NNO for the SD officers being retired.

They said one of the areas that the Navy had failed to abide by the rules of the game was also in the area of extension of service, which was mentioned in paragraph 06.08 of the HTACOS.

According to the HTACOS, 'an Executive Branch, SD or BrC officer who wishes to extend his services beyond the specified age ceiling shall apply and his application for extension of services will be referred to Army Council/Navy Board/Air Force Council for consideration.'

Daily Sun gathered that some of the officers who are still energetic and fit to serve the country through the Nigerian Navy have also applied for extension, but were refused extension by the force.

A letter signed by the Navy Secretary Rear Admiral O.B Ogunjimi out rightly turned down the request for extension by the officers on the ground that they applied after they have been asked to go.

Quoting a section of the HTACOS, Commodore Aliyu said that the Navy presented their proposal for extension before the Navy Board but it was turned down based on the provisions of the HTACOS.

However, the officers said despite these happenings, they are due for promotion to the next rank of Lieutenant Commander (Major equivalent in the Nigerian Army) in October as they have done the necessary examination requiring their promotion.

They told Daily Sun that President Jonathan should intervene and ensure that they get their promotion which they are due for in October 2011.