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Nigerian Army allegedly suspends voluntary retirement of soldiers

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The Nigerian army has reportedly suspended approvals for voluntary retirement requests from soldiers, over the alleged mass application by several military personnel to quit service.

In an internal memo which was sent out in late March and made available to Premium Times, the Nigerian army disclosed that all forms 9B (military retirement application document) have been suspended and would no longer be made available to soldiers willing to voluntarily discharge from service.

Though the number of voluntary retirement applications the Nigerian army has gotten so far was not revealed in the memo, top military officers were counselled for allowing “frivolous” voluntary retirement applications to advance through the chain of command when they should have been rejected at the early stages.

While the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa did not confirm or deny the memo, a military source disclosed that most soldiers who have left service or have filed requests to leave had served multiple tours in the northeast as part of the Boko Haram war.

He said;

“Our men are giving up on the war for many reasons that are not limited to poor equipment supplies and the lack of empathy they keep seeing from their top commanders. The soldiers have been asked over and again to remain in service for the defence of their fatherland, but their hope has been waning.

“Many of them have been trapped in the northeast for years and they just want to return to their families and look for another career path away from the military.”

Some soldiers have however protested against suspension of voluntary retirement by the Nigerian army. In a petition which was released on April 4 and has been circulating on WhatsApp groups of military personnel, a lance corporal argued that the military can only invite a soldier filing for retirement “for interview, guidance and counselling or career review,” but cannot block it “if the soldier insisted” on proceeding with the retirement “application.”

He added;

“A soldier who voluntarily joined the service without any duress is now being compelled to remain in the service even against his wish. With all due respect sir, this is unacceptable.”

It is however not clear if the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai has received the petition and ordered action on it.

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Ayade orders recruitment into Cross River civil service

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has ordered immediate recruitment into the state civil service to fill the vacuum that may occur due to workers’ retirements.

The new Head of Service (HoS), Mr Timothy Akwaji, disclosed this on Wednesday during his maiden meeting with permanent secretaries on Wednesday in Calabar.

Akwaji said the creation of Akwa Ibom from Cross River in 1987 caused a mass exodus of civil servants to the new state, leading to mass recruitment by the state government to fill the attendant vacant positions.

“Most of these workers will be exiting the service, having completed their mandatory 35 years in service and this may create a bureaucratic vacuum if there is no mentoring of those who may be left behind to keep the service running.

“The governor has, therefore, given approval for the recruitment of workers to cushion the effect of the impending mass retirement from the state civil service.” NAN quoted him as saying.

The Head of Service stressed the need for the permanent secretaries to mentor their subordinates, as directors and for other civil servants to look up to them as role models.

He said mentorship in the service has become necessary to enable civil servants discharge their responsibilities effectively.

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Buhari assures Nigerians price of rice, other food Items to crash soons

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that prices of food items, especially rice will soon come down.

The president, who gave the assurance on Tuesday, during the official unveiling of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Rice Paddy Pyramids in Abuja, urged Nigerians to exercise some patience, saying the growing food production in the country, especially expansion in rice farming would eventually bring down prices of food, making it more affordable for all.

This was just as the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, revealed that following the successes recorded in the implementation of the CBN-led Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the country had been able to significantly reduce rice importation from Thailand by over 99.83 per cent within the past seven years.

But reacting to yesterday’s unveiling, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday mocked the APC and its governments, describing it as another shameless media stunt to again beguile Nigerians ahead of 2023 elections.

According to the leading opposition political party, the unveiling of bogus rice pyramids in Abuja, was nothing but, “pyramids of lies.”

However, Buhari’s assurance to Nigerians on cheaper food items came on a day he personally presented awards to Emefiele and five other state governors for their contributions to the development of agriculture in the country.

The state chief executives included Governors of Ekiti, Mr. Kayode Fayemi; Kebbi, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu; Cross River, Prof. Ben Ayade; Ebonyi, Mr. David Umahi, and Jigawa, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru.

The president said: “Today rice production in Nigeria has increased to over 7.5 million metric tons annually. Prior to the introduction of APB, the average production in Nigeria between 1999 to 2015 was less than four metric tons annually.

“I am aware that the bags of paddy will be moving straight from here to rice milling plants across Nigeria, which lead to the release of processed rice to the markets by the rice millers. The measure will aid our efforts at reducing the price of rice in Nigeria.

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Mompha released on N200m bail

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Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court has granted Instagram celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, bail of N200 million.

Mompha was rearrested last week Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and was first re-arraigned in court last Wednesday, January 14.

While granting his bail application today January 18, the court requested he provides two sureties, one of which must own a property valued at N100 million within its jurisdiction.

Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are standing trial on an amended 22-count charge bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N32.9bn brought against him by the EFCC.

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