In his determination to pluck loopholes and block leakages in the system, President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a directive stripping retiring Generals in the three Armed Forces of some perks that had hitherto accompanied disengagement from active service.
The perks, investigations revealed, had existed since 2012 under what is called, Harmonized Terms AndConditions Of Service (HTACOS). New Telegraph gathered from highly-placed military sources that the presidential directive was handed down during the security meeting Buhari had at the Presidential Villa on Monday, with the Service Chiefs. The implication of the presidential directive is that henceforth, Brigadier- Generals and Major Generals (Army), Commodores and Rear Admirals (Navy), Air Commodores and Air Vice Marshal (Air Force) will no longer enjoy the Harmonized Terms and Condition of Service at retirement.
It was reliably gathered that though the three Service Chiefs were in attendance when the presidential directive was said to have been given, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh would, by tradition, issue a Circular to that effect, to the three Armed Forces – Army, Navy and Air Force. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, and the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, were all at the security meeting. It was gathered that the said circular may have been dispatched officially, for immediate implementation. However, the directive does not affect the Service Chiefs, even as New Telegraph further learnt that it would not take retroactive effect.
According to one of the sources, President Buhari arrived at the decision upon discovery that the HTACOS is not backed by law: not a constitutional provision. “I want to inform you that there is currently a Presidential Directive for the suspension of HTACOS. “The Commander-in- Chief made the directive on Monday during the security meeting he had with Service Chiefs. “By suspending the HTACOS, Brigadier-Generals and Major Generals, as well as their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force will, henceforth, retire without the usual 508 Peugeot car, a cook, gardener, a driver and two armed guards, that would have guarded their residences after their formal retirement or disengagement,” he said. Another military source said: “Already, circulars to that effect have been sent to the three services for their attention.”
In his reaction, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major General Chris Olukolade, said: “I’m not conversant with any such directive please.” However, efforts to get the Acting Director, Army Public Relations (DAPR), Colonel Sani Usman, on phone was not successful. Meanwhile, mixed reactions have continued to trail Monday’s directive for the dismantling of military checkpoints nationwide.
While some soldiers welcome the development, which they believe will restore the “dignity” of the Armed Forces, as they “will now return to our barracks to be on standby, in the event of any external threat to the country’s territorial integrity”, “our other colleagues, who used to enjoy Ration Cash Allowance (RCA), are not too happy, even though they will all return, as law-abiding soldiers that they are.” This is even as New Telegraph observed that military checkpoints within and around Abuja, are beginning to disappear, in deference to the subsisting presidential directive.