The Defence Headquarters has debunked reports that a mass retirement of senior military officers is imminent following the appointment of Major-General Farouk Yahaya as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
Brigadier-General Benard Onyeuko, acting Director of Defence Media Operations, issued the rebuttal while addressing defence correspondents at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
Yahaya was appointed COAS following the death of his predecessor, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, who was killed alongside 10 other military personnel in a plane crash near the Kaduna International Airport in May.
Following the appointment of Yahaya, who is a member of Regular Course 37, reports emerged of the sacking of members of Course 35, 36 and 37, who are mainly Generals, in line with military tradition of having seniors paving way for their juniors appointed to senior posts.
But Onyeuko explained that the retirement of senior officers is only on a voluntary basis.
“At this point, you are all aware of the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya. This has stirred up lot of rumours in the media about mass retirements in the military. I wish to use this medium to dispel such unfounded rumours.
“Retirement is only on voluntary basis for senior officers who desire to do so. At this point, no retirements has been authorized by the Military High Command,” Onyeuko said.
Providing an update on military operations across the country, Onyeuko noted that the “un-relenting and committed” efforts of the troops have boosted the fight against all forms of criminality in the country.
“Within the period in focus, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria intensified their operational efforts in the fight against terrorism, banditry, hoodlums and militancy as well as other criminalities across all the geo-political zones of the Country. Troops conducted series of clearance patrols, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments.
“Others are anti-piracy, anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-crude oil theft, anti-pipeline vandalism and anti-smuggling operations were also conducted within the period. There were also extensive air operations, which included air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support for ground troops. These operations within the period yielded appreciable results.”