A letter sent to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, by Abdul Muhammed Esq has amongst other things laid several heavy allegations against Minister of Defense, Mr. Mansur Dan Ali, Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, chief amongst which is an abuse of power which he said has led to the destruction of the lives of 38 senior army officers.
Recall that June last year, 38 Senior Army officers were compulsorily retired on charges of corruption, electoral manipulation and their alleged involvement in the arms procurement saga after an investigation was carried out by a panel.
The letter, made available to Heraldng, alleged that the investigation was nothing but a sham and that the army officials were used as scapegoats.
The letter also stated that Mr. Mansur Dan Ali, Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai abused their offices which led to the unlawful dismissal of the officers.
The lawyer went on to ask for a proper investigation to be carried out into the matter as claims that the officers were involved in election malpractice is fallacious as some of the officers accused of the crime weren’t even in the country during the elections.
A part of the letter reads; “Your Excellency, 18 of these Senior Army officers that were dismissed did not at any time appear before anyone of the two panels that were set up or any other inquiry or investigation for that matter. They were never investigated for any infraction, they were never indicted, they were never tried and they were never convicted of any disciplinary or criminal breaches whatsoever. Additionally, many of these officers have no relationship whatsoever with election duties or procurement office as falsely alleged by Army leadership. They have never served in procurement capacity throughout their careers in the Army or participated in any form of election duties during the 2015 General Elections.”
The letter went on to state that the men were not tried properly and in fact didn’t appear before a panel at all: “Most importantly, Your Excellency, none of the 38 senior officers that were compulsorily retired was at any time ever charged, tried, tried by a court martial or found guilty of any offence in line with Armed Forces extant rules and regulations, before they respectively heard of their retirement in the media. Interestingly, none of these officers has ever been informed of the particulars of any alleged offence till date aside the bogus assertion made by Army leadership in the media. Some of the affected officers wrote to the Army Authority ‘to furnish them with facts that constitute any alleged offence, but regrettably, the Army has failed to respond to this simple request one year after. This goes to confirm that the Army Authorities acted with impunity in the case of the 38 compulsorily retired officers.”
The letter also asserted that some of the officers dismissed were actually heroes of some renown especially in the fight against Boko Haram in the North and could have in no way been involved in electoral misconduct.
Abdul Muhammed went on to allege in the letter that the higher ups in the Army had substituted the real culprits and gotten these scapegoats instead which in turn has led to great hardship for these officers.
The letter even went on to say that “The report with respect to Arms Procurement was completed and published in December 2016, which was six months after these 38 Senior Officers had been dismissed based on involvement in Arms Procurement saga. The panel on Arms Procurement never indicted any of these 38 officers and some of those serving officers that were recommended for further investigation are still serving in the Army and have continued to enjoy their promotion and privileges.”
As a result of this alleged abuse, the letter says that one of the accused, Lt Col Baba-Ochankpa, has died and that justice has been delayed for way too long, adding that the Lt Col’s wife and children deserve justice.
The letter also alleges that there has been no form of redress for these officers as any form of appeal has ben blocked. stating; “It is essential to bring to the notice of the Acting President that despite an order of mandamus made by the National Industrial Court, Abuja which is directed specifically to the Chief Of Defense Staff, and requiring Gen. Olonosakin to (as a matter of his duty) transmit the affected officer’s administrative appeal for redress to Mr. President and to show proof of doing same to the Court.Registrar, the Chief of Defense Staff has continued to defy an order of a court of competent jurisdiction in a flagrant show of impunity and disrespect for rule of law. This clearly shows bad faith and the fact that they have something to hide.”
The letter closed out praying the Acting President to step in and “to authorize an urgent and impartial investigation into all the allegations in this petition, as we believe, on the basis of these allegations, that an independent review would eventually led to (1) the immediate reinstatement of all the 38 Senior Army Officers that were wrongfully and illegally retired in wanton abuse of office and (2) the institution of further disciplinary procedures against those high officials that were involved in the illegal and or sham retirement exercise.”
There have been several allegations of corruption within the military especially with the leadership with Buratai appearing on BBC’s HardTalk and being unable to defend certain things, including allegations of fraudulently obtaining land in Dubai.
You can read the document here