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Army: Al-Mustapha to Retire as a Major •JTF maintains offensive against Boko Haram  

July 17, 2013

Major Hamza Al-Mustapha,  former Chief Security Officer (CSO)to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, may soon be retired with the rank of Major which he was wearing before he was charged with murder 14 years ago, it was learnt  Tuesday.

Military authorities had confirmed on Monday, that he was still in service following his acquittal last Friday of murder charges.

But THISDAY checks revealed  Tuesday that Al-Mustapha would be officially retired from service with full benefits.

The military also dismissed  Tuesday the rumours doing the rounds that the former CSO would be promoted to Brigadier General, saying his case would be considered in line with harmonised terms and conditions of service of the armed forces.

Sources told THISDAY that Al-Mustapha would be retired with the rank of Major but he might get all his cumulative entitlements in the last 14 years that he had been in  prison custody during his trial.
Justifying the consideration for the payment of his entitlements despite the fact that he did not serve the military during his trial, the source said: “He was never retired in the first place but I assume he will be retired with full benefits with the rank of Major. However, he will also stand the benefit of being paid his entitlements for all these 14 years and as well be free to contest elections.”

Some however have expressed reservation on why Al-Mustapha was neither retired nor dismissed all these years, in line with the tradition of the military to avoid things that could negatively affect its image.

“I think with his age and years of service, he is automatically gone. By his age, he is gone; I mean his mates are now within the rank of Major General, which he has automatically been disqualified from attaining as he did not attend the necessary courses and examinations. However, since he was in prison all this while, which was not his fault, the best thing is to retire him.

“We were even wondering why his name has not been struck off the list when all these things were going on. Normally, he was supposed to have been retired or dismissed as the case may be  during all these issues to avoid dragging the name of the Nigerian Army into the mud,” the source added.

Against the backdrop of the rumours that  Al- Mustapha would be promoted to the rank of brigadier general following his recent acquittal by the court, the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, described the report as false and erroneous.

Attahiru in a statement Tuesday, clarified that there were professional procedures that should be followed and fulfilled before an officer can be promoted.

He said: “The Nigerian Army as a professional force wishes to state that all administrative procedures are guided by extant administrative rules and regulations such as the Armed Forces of Nigeria Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service amongst others”.

Meanwhile,  the Defence Headquarters said the troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) deployed to enforce the state of emergency in three northern states would not relent in their offensive against Boko Haram insurgents despite the alleged ceasefire with the federal government.

Answering question from journalists yesterday, the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, explained that while the Presidential Committee on Amnesty for Boko Haram, is more concerned with the political issues,  the military is focused on the operational areas of the state of emergency.

Olukolade said their major focus was on the operational success of the war against the insurgents, which they would not relent from waging until peace is restored or directed otherwise.
“As far as we are concerned, we are continuing our operations until there is a counter-directive, and there has been none to that effect for now”, he added.

The DDI also revealed a new trend in the tactics adopted by the insurgents whereby they attack soft targets to attract attention, like the recent attack on  a secondary school in Yobe State.

He urged the public not to be discouraged by this latest strategy by the insurgents, which shows that they are being “decimated”.

Three suspected members of the Islamic sect have been killed by troops in a pre-dawn raid on Guri Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

According to a statement yesterday in Kano, by the spokesman of 3 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, items recovered during the operation in the house that harboured the suspects include four AK-47 rifles, five magazines and  164 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition  for AK-47 rifles.
Thisday Live

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