The Defence Headquarters has reacted to what it called campaign of calumny against the government through spurious and unfounded allegations of lopsided recruitment, postings, appointments and retirements of military personnel by the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
A statement on Tuesday by Onyeama Nwachukwu, Acting Director Defence Information, said it was untrue that over 200 officers from a particular geo-political zone and religion, in the first quarter 2019, were retired prematurely.
“It is important to reiterate that postings, appointments and retirements in the military are routine activities and common public knowledge”, it read.
“Every officer, soldier, rating, airman or woman on commission or enlistment into the Services look forward to an exciting, adventurous and rewarding career in the Armed Forces and most importantly knows exactly when he or she is due to retire.
“Officers, soldiers, ratings, airmen and women are not only conscious of this but look forward to it. Personnel often retire based on age on rank or length of Service.
“In the event of approaching retirement, the affected person or persons are given adequate notice and also prepared for life after Service through training programmes at either the Nigerian Army Resource Centre or Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi. Therefore, it is irresponsible for anyone to allege that such exercises were targeted at a particular ethnic group or religion.
“Similarly, recruitment and enlistment into the Armed Forces of Nigeria have always been made known to the public and follows transparent and well-known procedures that are in line with best practices.
“It is instructive to state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remain the cohesive and bastion of national unity and no amount of campaign of calumny would change that. Such things are alien and blasphemous in the military.
“More also, the allegation of “unease and disquiet in the military formation” is not only untrue but sheer mischief.
“The public is implored to please disregard such insinuations as there are proper career plan and progression in the military, therefore, there is such thing like premature retirement or deliberate attempt to cleanse a particular ethnic or religious group in any of the Services.”