A former Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (Retd.), has made it clear that the sacking of the Heads of the Nigerian Armed Forces, is at the discretion of the President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and not based on a tenure, as widely believed.
He added that the Service Chiefs could resign, if they felt they do not have anything new to contribute again, or wait to be sacked by the President.
There have been calls for the sacking of the Service Chiefs recently, due to the worsening insecurity situation in the country, and the Senate, last week, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack them.
Asked in an interview if he supports the calls that the Service Chiefs should go, Akinrinade said that the President has the power to either sack the Service Chiefs, or retain them.
His exact words: “A Service Chief can resign, but sacking them is at the discretion of the President. When you get to that position, you are serving at the discretion of the President.
“If he wants you to go, then you leave. If you have served, and you feel that you do not have anything again to contribute, then you can approach the President and tell him. Or you can write to your Minister, who will deliver such letter to the President, to tell him that you will like to leave.
“But if you are not interested in leaving, you wait for the President to tell you to leave. There is no tenure, and that is the problem. It is not stated anywhere that you have to serve as the Chief of Army Staff for four years, or as Chief of Defence Staff for two years. There is no tenure.”
Akinrinade, added that the Civil Service Rule stipulating retirement for anybody who has served for 35 years, which he said had been extended to the Armed Forces, is not helpful to the nation at times.
He stated that some persons might join the Armed Forces early, and would still be productive after spending 35 years in Service.
He added: “The Civil Service Rule, which has been extended to the Forces now; that if you have served for 35 years, you should leave. I do not particularly think this is a good idea, because somebody can serve for 35 years, and he or she is only 56 years old, has such person reached the climax of their productive life?
“If the person is doing well, are we going to just kick out such person, because they have served for 35 years? These are matters which we have installed in our system, but which are not necessarily productive at some points.“