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Navy retires six rear admirals, commodores, others

Posted by From Madu Onuorah, Abuja on 2007/02/26 | Views: 3116 |

Navy retires six rear admirals, commodores, others

A GALE of retirement swept through the Nigerian Navy (NN) last week. The development has triggered off panic and protest among the officer corps of the service.

A GALE of retirement swept through the Nigerian Navy (NN) last week. The development has triggered off panic and protest among the officer corps of the service.

The retirement affected six rear admirals, two commodores, captains and commanders.

A rear admiral is Army's equivalent of major general, while commodores are on the same rank with brigadier generals.

The officers retired compulsorily include:

Rear Admirals

Sunday Lawal Baje,

John Kpokpogri and

Francis Akpan.
The others are:

Commodore Edwin Onoye Omakwu,

Captains George Alily and

Goddy Ohuabunwa.
The others who are proceeding on retirement based on their Run-Out Date (ROD) are:

Rear Admirals Olukayode Biobaku,

Ndazumi Idris Dirisu,

AD Odejimi and

Ben Chibuzo Noshiri.
Initially the former Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) East, Baje lost command in October 2006 and was moved to the Naval Ordinance Depot Lagos (NOD) as Admiral Superintendent. Formerly FOC West, Rear Admiral Akpan was moved to the Navy Training Command (NAVTRAC) now based in Port Harcourt as FOC, from where he is now retired.

Rear Admiral Kpokpogri, was the Commanding Officer, NNS ARADU before his redeployment in 2005 to Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) as Deputy Commandant, from where he is now retired. Admiral Edwin Kpokpogri recently lost his younger brother, the late Rear Admiral Kpokpogri, who was serving as a Director at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State in early January.

Commodore Omakwu, until the retirement, was the Director of Operations at Naval Headquarters (NHQ), Abuja while Captain Ohuabunwa is currently on posting to Defence Headquarters (DHQ). Similarly Captain Alily is a participant of the National War College Course 15, and is billed to graduate by August.

Rear Admiral, Dirisu, former Chief of Logisitics (COL), NHQ, was last October, moved to Sea Training Command, Lagos as Flag Officer. Rear Admiral Biobaku, until the retirement notice, was the Chief of Administration, Defence Headquarters (DHQ). Also Rear Admiral Noshiri, until the retirement notice, was the Commander, Fleet Maintenance Corps. While Rear Admiral Odejimi was the Chief of Naval Engineering (CONE), Naval Headquarters, Abuja.

Sources said that the retirement came as "a rude shock" to many of the officiers as "it was not expected."

The sources claimed that the compulsory retirement was the way the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye, in conjunction with the Presidency, wanted to weed out officers who were involved in "duties which portrayed the Navy in bad light and were not professionally and thoroughly carried out."

Specifically, majority of the officers featured prominently in the 2004 arrest, detention, trial and conviction of two rear admirals over the MV African Pride missing ship saga.

The two rear admirals, who were convicted in January 2005 and dismissed from service, but are appealing their conviction at the Court of Appeal, include Francis Agbiti and Babatunde Kolawole.

Rear Admiral Baje was the star witness for the Navy against the rear admirals at the House of Representatives and the General Court Marshal held in Naval Base Apapa, Lagos. Captain Alily was Commanding Officer (CO), NNS Olokun, the base which had the custody of the MV African Pride, before it was declared missing. Despite his being the official custodian of the merchant tanker ship, he was neither arraigned nor was he reprimanded for allowing the ship to slip out of anchor.

But some friends of the officers compulsorily retired are crying foul, alleging vindictiveness.

One of them said: "Look, this is pure injustice. Some of these fine officers are being retired because of their perceived closeness to the (immediate past) former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Samuel Afolayan. In any case, no due process was followed in the retirements. No Navy Board was constituted and sat to approve the retirements. And some of these officers were not expecting it to come. It is too shocking for some of them to bear. I thought the era of compulsory retirements without notice to the affected officers has gone for good in the military. And look at it rearing its head again."

The Navy Board, comprises the Minister of Defence (on behalf of the President and Commander-in-Chief) as chairman, the Minister of State for Defence, Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff. It is the highest authority in matters of retirements and promotions in the Nigerian Navy.

The retirements took immediate effect and the affected officers are expected to hand over any property of the Navy in their possession. Their names are already being forwarded to the Military Pension Board for the processing of their gratuities and pensions.

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