By Johnson Eyiangho
The Defence Headquarters says the Service Chiefs of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have not committed any illegality in extending the service of career officers.
Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, the Director Defence Information made the clarification in a statement he released on Thursday.
Enenche said that the clarification followed a publication captioned: “How Service Chiefs Illegally Extend Military Careers of Course Mates”.
“Thus, it has become necessary to clear this issue that was addressed particularly to the Nigerian Army, Navy and Airforce,’’ he said.
He explained that the publication cited the “Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS), 2012, Paragraph 02: 10 (b) as justification for the assertion, which is a tabulation of the conditions relating to the length of service of a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.’’
“ However, it failed to give insight into other sections of the Paragraph that borders specifically on extension of service for a commissioned officer.
“In view of this kind of an unbalanced publication, the Defence Headquarters wishes to posit that; Paragraph 02:10 (d) of Armed Forces of Nigeria, Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service, officers, 2012 is clear on the considerations for extending the length of service for officers, which are summarized as follows:
“An officer’s career can be extended based on the interest of the Service, in this case, Army, Navy and Airforce.
“In very exceptional cases, an officer’s Career can be extended beyond one year for as long as necessary.
“Extension of service for officers can only be approved by the Service council/board comprising the Honourable Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, the service Chief, Service Director at Ministry of Defence and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence.
“Extension of service for officers can also be at the discretion of the Commander in Chief,’’ Enenche said.
The DDI further explained that extant guidelines and policies were always followed as laid out in the aforementioned document when the need arise.
He said that quite a good number of the officers mentioned in the article were no longer in service.
“Only very few are still in service, in the interest of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, which is in line with Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers, 2012, Paragraph 02.10 (d).
“The general public is hereby re-assured that the service Chiefs under the strategic leadership of the Chief of Defence staff are focused and will remain so, in tackling the security challenges of the nation, and would not be distracted by any means,’’ Enenche said. (NAN)