Fresh facts have emerged on why the Nigerian Army recently retired 51 top officers with those affected having put in the mandatory 35 years in service and reached between the ages of 50 and 56 years.
An investigation by Saturday PUNCH showed that many of the 51 officers made serious efforts to extend their services by writing to the Army authorities to indicate their desire.
But the Nigerian Army Council, which approved the retirement of the senior officers, turned down their request for service extension because of its implications on those junior in hierarchy to them.
It is the practice in the Army for those who have reached the retirement age to appeal for service extension.
The implication of granting the request is a steady reduction in promotion vacancies and the stagnation of other personnel of the service.
It was gathered that 103 officers applied for service extension when the Army only declared 22 vacancies for brigadiers-general.
Granting the request for extension would mean that the promotion of other qualified personnel would have to be put on hold.
Some affected generals and other top officers of the service, who are aggrieved about the termination of their services, are believed to be reading ethnic and religious sentiments into the exercise.
But the authorities said on Thursday that the decision to retire the 51 officers was carried out in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Army.
Spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Bola Koleosho, said while addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday that those affected by the retirement had either put in 35 years of service or had got to the age ceiling for the respective ranks of the Army.
However, it was learnt that those who missed their promotion for a third consecutive time were also retired.
Koleosho said that the rule on retirement was clear, insisting that those complaining were only out to cause mischief.
Out of the 51 officers that were retired, 18 were given compulsory retirement.
The implication of compulsory retirement is that the affected personnel would not serve the country again at any level.
They cannot be given any ministerial or high security appointment at any level in the country.
Further investigation showed that the 18 compulsorily retired officers, including a former Commander of the Infantry Corps and Centre, Jaji, Maj.-Gen. M.D. Isah, could write to the Army Council to reverse their disengagement to voluntary retirement since they didnâ€™t commit any offence.