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New Service Chiefs: 100 Military Generals May Be Retired

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

•Retirement gale to hit Army, Air Force, Navy, Course 37, others may be affected

•Shettima decorates acting IG Egbetokun as Baba backs successor to succeed

About 100 top officers, including generals, brigadiers-general, air vice marshals, and admirals in the Nigerian Army, Air Force, and Nigerian Navy may proceed on compulsory retirement following the appointment of new service chiefs on Monday by President Bola Tinubu, The PUNCH reports.

Aside from the imminent gale of retirement, many officers would be promoted to their next rank to fill the vacancies that would be created by the retiring generals as part of the reorganisation of the services by the new service chiefs.

This is happening six months after 24 major generals and 38 brigadier generals retired last December after serving the nation for 35 years.

Tinubu announced the immediate retirement of General Lucky Irabor who was the Chief of Defence Staff; the Chief of Army Staff, Lieut Gen Farouk Yahaya; the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, and Air Marshal Oludayo Amao, the Chief of Air Staff and replaced them with new military chiefs.

The new service chiefs are Maj Gen Christopher Musa who is the Chief of Defence Staff; the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen Taoreed Lagbaja; the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla while Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar was appointed the Chief of Air Staff.

DIG Kayode Egbetokun was appointed as the acting Inspector-General of Police and Maj. Gen. E Undiandeye, Chief of Defence Intelligence.

Also, a former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, who was appointed last week as the Security Adviser to the President, was elevated to the National Security Adviser.

In line with precedence, Maj Gen Musa will adorn a full four-star General rank while Lagbaja will be decorated with the three-star rank of Lieutenant General and Ogalla with the same rank equivalent of Vice Admiral and Abubakar with the Air Marshal rank.

But the decoration with the new ranks by the President would come after Senate confirmation.

The PUNCH learnt that the planned retirement of the senior officers across the three services was in line with the long-standing military tradition that officers who were senior to the service chiefs would be retired.

It is a tradition in the military that when a junior is appointed as a service chief, senior officers, who are ahead of him or her, would proceed on retirement.

The understanding is that senior military officers are unlikely to take orders from their juniors.

While the new CDS is a member of 38 Regular Course, the COAS, the CNS, and the CAS are members of 39 Regular Course.

Multiple sources said it meant that the security chiefs were junior to some generals who are members of Course 37 and Course 38.

An impeccable source explained that about 100 top officers spread across the Army, Air Force and Navy could leave the service in the coming weeks because, in the military, it is improper for a senior officer to serve under his juniors.

Speaking to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, a retired general explained that many top brass, particularly, members of Course 37 and Course 38 would likely leave the service.

Though the former military officer was not sure of the number of senior officers that may retire in the army, air force and navy, he explained that the figure could be as high as 100.

He stated, ‘’Top officers that would leave the service may be up to 100 because it cuts across the three services. The retirement exercise would not affect RC 39 officers; they would simply go to the Defence Headquarters because the Chief of Defence Staff is RC 38.

Certainly, RC 37 and 38 officers will leave the service. Though, some of them may be retained because the last time, COAS Yahaya, who was a member of RC 37 retained some of his mates. So, he is leaving with his coursemates now.’’

Asked about the number of officers that make up a regular course, the source said there was no fixed number, adding “Along the line, some of them would have been weeded out through retirement, deaths, accidents, sickness and other factors. So, the course members that get to the top level are usually about 20 or 30 per cent of the officers that enrolled together.’’

Senior military officers

Corroborating the retired general, a serving military officer noted, ‘’All officers who are senior to the new service chiefs are supposed to go home; mostly senior officers who are members of Course 37, 38 and some of 39.

“I said some Course 39 members because they are coursemates of the new service chiefs. Some service chiefs may choose to work with some of their course mates and others may decide not to work with them, but 37 and 38 will certainly go.

“Course 39 officers are to go too but some may be allowed to head the tri-services like the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Nigeria Defence College, and Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre “

Another source said the coursemates of the former CDS cannot be retained because they are seniors to the three service chiefs.

He stated, “Yes, the CDS is a member of Course 38, but by military tradition, he is not expected to make any appointment from among his coursemates because the COAS, CNS, and CAS are members of Course 39.

‘’If he does, they would be senior to them. Even those in Course 39 will go. Those that would escape being retired are those who are on senior courses at foreign missions. Looking across the three services, that number may be more than 100.”

It was further learnt that all officers under Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 39 who could not be accommodated at Defence Headquarters are to proceed on voluntary retirement.

Former CDS General Irabor is a member of the NDA Regular Course 34. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant on June 28 1986 into the Signals Corps of the Nigerian Army.

The former COAS, Lt Gen Yahaya is a member of the 37 Regular Course of the NDA. He commenced officer cadet training on September 27, 1985 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army Corp of Infantry as a Second Lieutenant on December 27, 1990.

Vice Admiral Gambo, the ex-CNS, is a member of 36 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy, and Air Marshal Amao, the 21st CAS, joined the Armed Forces of Nigeria as a Cadet of the Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 35 in January 1984.

On the other hand, the new CDS Maj Gen Musa is a member of the 38th Regular Course of NDA and he was commissioned into the Infantry Corps on September 21, 1991.

The 23rd COAS, Maj Gen Lagbaja is a member of NDA RC 39 and was commissioned on September 19, 1992 while Vice Admiral Ogalla, the new CNS is a member of NDA 39 Regular Course.

The new CAS, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force as a member of NDA RC 39 and was commissioned as a pilot on September 19, 1992.

The PUNCH gathered that those who may retire alongside the former service chiefs include the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Maj Gen Ibrahim Yusuf and the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir.

Others are the Chief Of Policy and Plans, HQ NAF, AVM IG Lubo; the Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Air Vice Marshal Oluwarotimi Tuwase.

The Director of Defence Information, Brig Gen Tukur Gusau could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report. He did not respond to calls and he had yet to reply to a text message as of press time.

Egbetokun decorated

Meanwhile, Vice President Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday, decorated Mr Kayode Egbetokun as the Acting Inspector-General of Police, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The VP performed the decoration alongside the wife of the new police helmsman, Mrs Elizabeth Egbetokun, barely 24 hours after a major shake-up in the country’s security leadership.

Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, Egbetokun expressed eagerness to resume duties on Wednesday, saying he felt like a tiger ready to chase away all the internal enemies of the country.

Asked how he felt about the weight of his new responsibility, Egbetokun said, “Now, I have just been decorated and I’m looking forward to taking over tomorrow morning by 11:00 am.

“I really can’t describe how I feel currently, but if I have to tell you anything, I will tell you that right now, I feel like a tiger inside of me, ready to chase away all the criminals in Nigeria.

“And some other times, I feel like a lion in me, ready to devour all the internal enemies of Nigeria. That’s how I feel right now.”

On his part, the former IG, Usman Baba, described his successor as an old, experienced hand who would build on what he is leaving behind.

“It’s a stage; you come, you work and you go. I’m happy I’m handing over to somebody I know that will carry the mantle of leadership from where I have stopped.

“We grew up on the job. I was his boss at a time, not even when I was IG. He worked under me twice; we’ve been working together and I know how he will go ahead to champion the course of the police from where I have stopped,” Baba said.

Egbetokun would hold the office in an acting capacity until confirmed by the 10th Senate as the 22nd substantive IGP.

The ceremony was witnessed by the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Hope Uzodinma; the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume and others.

In a related development, the immediate-past Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani has applauded the President over the appointment of retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu as the National Security Adviser and the service chiefs.

Zailani, who is also the Chairman of ‘The APC Speakers Forum’, in a statement on Tuesday by his Press Secretary, Ibrahim Danfulani, said he was specifically delighted with the appointment of the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, noting that Ribadu’s professionalism, hard work and dedication to service, track record, earned him the job.

He also described the appointment of CDS Maj Gen Musa, who hails from Zangon Kataf Local Government of Kaduna State as deserving and a reward for sacrifice to the service of the nation.

Breaking News

Food inflation soars by 61 per cent in one year– NBS

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Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Nigerians are finding it more difficult to feed themselves, as food inflation rose to 40.66 per cent in May.

This was as the cost of food rose by 61 per cent from 25.25 per cent in June 2023 to 40.66 per cent in May 2024, highlighting a steady rise in the cost of living.

This is according to an analysis of the latest Consumer Price Index and Inflation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The CPI measures the average change over time in the prices of goods and services consumed by people for day-to-day living.

On Saturday, the NBS disclosed that headline inflation moved by 0.26 per cent to 33.95 per cent from 33.69 per cent recorded in April.

The report noted that the inflation rate climbed to a 28-year high since March 1996 on higher food and transport prices.

It said, “In May 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 33.95 per cent relative to the April 2024 headline inflation rate which was 33.69 per cent.”

The statistics agency also reported major contributing items to headline inflation in May 2024 including food & non-alcoholic beverages (contributing 17.59 per cent), housing, water, and electricity, gas & other fuel (contributing 5.68 per cent), and clothing & footwear (contributing 2.60 per cent).

A breakdown of the data showed that the price of food commodities increased steadily from 25.25 per cent in June, to 26.98 per cent in July, 29.34 per cent, 30.64 per cent in August, 31.52 per cent in September, 31.52 per cent October, 32.84 per cent in November and 33.93 per cent as the end of December 2023.

The rate further increased to 35.41 per cent in January, 37.92 per cent in February, crossed the 40 per cent mark in March, 40.53 per cent in April and 40.66 per cent in May.

NBS said the rate rose to 40.66 per cent in May, compared to the 24.82 per cent reported in the same month last year — indicating an increase of 15.84 per cent points.

The bureau said semovita, oatflake, yam flour prepackage, garri, bean, etc (which are under bread and cereals class), Irish potatoes, yam, water yam, etc (under potatoes, yam and other tubers class), contributed to the year-on-year increase in the food inflation rate.

Other contributors are palm oil, vegetable oil, etc (under oil and fat), stockfish, mudfish, crayfish, etc (under fish class), beef head, chicken-live, pork head, and bush meat (under meat class).

“The food inflation rate in May 2024 was 40.66 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.84 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in May 2023 (24.82 per cent).

“The average annual rate of Food inflation for the twelve months ending May 2024 over the previous twelve-month average was 34.06 per cent, which was 10.41 per cent points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in May 2023 (23.65 per cent),” the report said.

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Omokri tackles Peter Obi over his criticism of ‘new’ presidential jet for Tinubu

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Peter Obi

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, on Monday accused the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, of lying over the reported purchase of a presidential jet for President Bola Tinubu.

Omokri said, contrary to Obi’s claim, the Nigerian government has no plans to buy a new private jet for Tinubu.

He clarified that the idea to change Tinubu’s presidential jet did not emanate from the presidency.

On Friday, the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence asked the FG to purchase new aircraft for Tinubu and Shettima.

Reacting, Obi said: “It’s on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford basic necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need.”

However, Omokri faulted Obi’s comment, which he described as “another Gbajue lie.”

Posting on X, Omokri wrote: “The statement by Peter Obi condemning the Federal Government’s plan to buy new presidential jet for President Tinubu is another Gbajue lie from a man who has elevated lying to an art.

“The reason for this is because there is no such plan. It was the National Assembly that mooted the idea, as is their right. The Executive did not make such plans and has not budgeted any money for such a purpose.

“It is the same way he lied and blamed the Tinubu administration for spending N21 billion on the new residence of the Vice President. What he failed to tell his gullible supporters is that that project was initiated and funded by previous administrations, dating to when our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, was in office. Please note that Peter Obi was then our card-carrying member, but he did not attack the project.

“Mr. Peter Obi counts on your gullibility and refusal to research what you read before believing him. That is why he tells such fibs.”

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