Nigerian Army is secretly trying a Soldier, Sergeant Mohammed Abdullahi, for making ‘unguarded comments’ on the social media, about the tenures of the current Service Chiefs.
The Staff Sergeant, according to the source, was accused of critising the extension of the tenures of the Service Chiefs, saying that, it is “slowing morale in the rank and file of the Forces”.
The source said that Abdullahi, with service number 97NA/44/315, is facing disciplinary action, following the comments.
The Service Chiefs include: the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas; and the Chief of Air Staff, Sadiq Abubakar.
The Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps, NAIC, has investigated the Soldier’s comments, and its findings will form the basis of the trial, an Official briefed on the case told Premium Times.
The source disclosed that the investigation of the Soldier, was authorised by Buratai, in February, this year.
The Soldier is being accused of flouting the Nigerian Military’s 2018 policy, on the use of the social media, which prohibits certain conducts by Military personnel on the social media, the source added.
Many Soldiers have reportedly been punished under that policy in the past.
It was learnt that Abdullahi’s social media comment irked the Senior Military Officers, who moved to sanction him.
When contacted about the matter, the Spokesperson of the Army, Sagir Musa, said that he was not aware of the matter, and could not comment on it, until he saw the document, Premium Times referenced.
“I am not aware of this! But if you have any document or evidence indicating there is such development, kindly forward it to me, to facilitate or assist in finding out, so that I can brief you accordingly”, he said.
Premium Times says it has seen part of a document that referenced Abdullahi’s social media comment on tenures of the Service Chief, and the NAIC investigation that was authorised by the COAS.
The referenced document sighted by Premium Times, is not being made public, because doing so could reveal the identity of the source.
The Soldier’s post reportedly criticised the continued stay in Office of the Service Chiefs.
The current Service Chiefs are the longest-serving set since the return of democracy in Nigeria, in 1999. This has angered many who believe such top Officers should not spend more than two years, or at most four in Office.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed them on July 13, 2015, with the general expectations that their tenures would end in two years or thereabouts.
It was expected by many that by then, most of them who were then nearing the end of their Military careers, would have retired, but that turned out not to be the case.
The Armed Forces of Nigeria’s Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service, HTACOS, is clear about the tenures of the Service Chiefs, and the prerogatives of the President and Commander-in-Chief in extending their tenures.
Section 09:08 of the HTACOS, also known as ‘official service order in the military’ states that: “An officer appointed to the substantive appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff will hold the appointment for a continuous period of two years. The appointment could be extended for another two years from the date of expiration of the initial two-year period.”