… COAS accuses retired officer of sabotage
From UBONG UKPONG, Abuja
The Nigerian Army Headquarters (AHQ) yesterday disclosed that a report of the investigation panel into the bombing of the military church at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, Kaduna State last year by Boko Haram has allegedly indicted the former Commander of the Army Infantry School at the college, Major-General Mohammed Isa (rtd). Shortly after the sad incident, a panel was raised to investigate the bombing.
The former commander was redeployed to the AHQ. He was subsequently retired. However, at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, marking the commencement of the first quarter 2013 Conference of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, said that the alleged negligence and carelessness of the retired Major-General led to the bombing of Jaji. Ihejirika disclosed that a day to the bombing of the college, General Isa allegedly had all the information about the attacks, but may have refused to act until the attacks were successfully executed.
After the incident, the COAS expressed shock that rather than staying back to put his house in order, Isa allegedly abandoned his duty post for Asaba, Delta State, to attend the COAS Quarterly Conference, which his counterpart at 1 Division, Kaduna, took permission to be absent from, to attend to the security situation of the state. Ihejirika said that after his redeployment and retirement, General Isa had allegedly continued to lead a campaign of calumny against him and the Army.
He disclosed that the recent campaign in the media on discrepancies in the recruitment of soldiers, promotions, postings and retirements of officers, were allegedly funded and executed by General Isa, who lost his bid to have an extension in service. “Military service is a selfless service.
If an officer missed promotion and believed that Nigeria should burn, would such an officer give his life for the nation? “If any soldier complains to a civilian that he was not promoted, such a person was not supposed to be a soldier. How many soldiers have we lost since the fight on counter-terrorism started? Postings in the military would be likened to selecting your first eleven in football. I will not take a disloyal and non-performing officer in my team.
But for the first time in the Army under me, General Officers Commanding (GOCs) were selected across the country. “Retirement of every commissioned officer has to pass through the Army Council. It is when the Council sits and decides on it that the officer goes on retirement.
Officers cannot just pack their bags and go. “All these campaigns which he allegedly spearheaded started with his redeployment. He did not take the actions expected of him as an officer. Isa did not allegedly give instruction to his subordinate, he simply travelled to Asaba for the COAS conference and I asked him, what are you doing here when your house is on fire?
“From the report of the panel, the intelligence report on Jaji attack was available to Major-General Isa a day before the attack, but he may have failed to take action”, the COAS stated. Stressing that Army operations and administration were devoid of politics, ethno-religious affinity, contrary to General Isa’s alleged campaign, Ihejirika said that the North had more Generals in the Army than the South, stressing that they also occupied more strategic positions.
In his remarks at the opening of the conference, Ihejirika warned those thinking of dismembering the country to take heed, that they would have to kill the over 100, 000 Nigerian soldiers first before they could do that, adding that whoever was uncomfortable with Nigeria was free to check out as the military would never compromise the unity of Nigeria.