Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 December 2012

Nigeria: Army, Navy Officers Grumble Over Promotions

Officers in the Army and Navy are grumbling over alleged lopsidedness in the recent promotions.

The Army last week promoted 22 Brigadier Generals to the rank of Major General and 37 Colonels to the rank of Brigadier General. Also promoted were 91 Lieutenant Colonels to the rank of Colonel.

Weeks earlier, the Navy also conducted its own promotions of 112 officers.

Daily Trust learnt that many officers feel aggrieved because they are left out of the promotions exercise even though they are qualified and that there are vacancies to fill.

There are also allegations that certain sections of the country have been favoured to the detriment of others.

In the list of Army promotions published last week, no details of state of origin of the officers were given.

But Daily Trust learnt that of those promoted to Major Generals, South-South has 5, South-West 4, South-East 3, North-Central 4, North-West 3 and North-East 3.

Colonels promoted to Brigadier Generals in the North-West were 4, North-Central 8, Northeast 1, South-East 7, South-West 9 while South-South got 8.

A source told Daily Trust that in a particular Army corps, only two officers were promoted to the rank of Brigadier General even though many vacancies were available.

When contacted, the Director of Army Public Relations, newly-promoted Major General Mobolaji Koleoso, said he was not aware about the allegations and will not make comment on them.

In the Navy, 112 senior officers were promoted to various ranks late last month. The exercise involved 19 Commodores moved to the rank of Rear Admiral, 40 Captains to the rank of Commodore, 33 Commanders to the rank of Captain and 20 Lieutenant Commanders to the rank of Commander.

A senior officer in the Navy said the promotions were skewed against the North, with no officer from the Northeast getting promoted even though there is a particular state that has four officers on the promotions list.

Navy's Director of Information Commodore Kabir Aliyu could not be reached for comments.

'How military officers are promoted'

A source in the military gave Daily Trust an insight into how promotions are done in the armed forces.

"On the promotion calendar, a particular course year for regular and short service officers is supposed to be promoted to the rank of Major General, Brigadier General and Colonel," the source said.

"However, because of the inability of their predecessors billed for promotion to secure promotion and move on, it became difficult for some of the officers to be promoted even though they are qualified for promotion.

"Therefore, those who are due for promotion have to wait for the top to be cleared. By implication, some of these officers have to spend more years on a particular rank against the establishment standard of progression in the military.

"In order to pacify some of these officers and keep the system moving, some of them have to be promoted and retired to give space for others."

On requirements for promotion, the source explained further: "The Army has established qualification requirements for promotion of officers. There are basically three requirements: C+ from either War Collage, Command and Staff Collage and other courses; awards garnered during the period like the Chief of Army Staff award, National Honour, Personal Evaluation Report (PER) for good conducts and establishment; and lastly geo political zone to balance the equation. All these depend on when there is vacancy and age on rank."

The source also said in spite of the criteria, favouritism may creep in.

"You cannot rule out favour in such kind of activity. It is natural some will be favoured but it minimal in the army because of the discipline," he said.

"If you look at the promotion, you will find out that while some geopolitical zones have two or three Generals, others have six and above."

Regarding the "age on rank" policy, the source said under this, "you are expected to make the rank of a Brigadier between the age 50 and 53, Major General 53 and 55."

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