Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate has urged the authorities of the Nigerian Army to immediately reinstate one of the 38 dismissed officers, Colonel Chidi Kalu Ukoha, and pay all his entitlements.
It also cautioned the army against arbitrary disengagement of its officers as such action would not only lower the morale of serving officers and soldiers, but would also amount to colossal waste of resources spent by the country to train such officers.
Ukoha is one of 38 officers who were summarily dismissed by the army in June 2016. The 38 officers, some of whom are in court challenging their dismissal, also petitioned the Senate, on grounds that they were never queried for any act of indiscipline, but were suddenly dismissed.
The army had claimed that all the officers were given fair hearing, and compulsorily retired for involvement in arms procurement or political election corruption.
Adopting the recommendations of its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, the Senate lamented that Ukoha was compulsorily retired even though he still has 12 more years to serve.
â€œThat the statement of the Nigerian Army that the officer was retired on disciplinary ground and given fair hearing before the retirement, could not be substantiated by the Army, as the officer was never warned, queried or made to appear before any disciplinary committee/court marshal.
â€œThat the Nigerian Army could not also prove that the petitioner was in anyway involved in arms procurement or in political election corruption,â€
â€œThat on June 13, 2016, the officer wrote a letter of appeal to the president through the Chief of Defence Staff, for his intervention in his wrongful retirement, but till date the officer was yet to receive the decision of Mr. President on the matter,â€ the report said.