There is controversy over the retirement of senior officers at the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), formerly known as Nigerian Prison Service (NPS).
Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, is accused of prematurely retiring seven Assistant Controller Generals (ACGs) who took part in the screening and examination that produced the current Controller General, Haliru Nababa.
Following Aregbesola’s recommendation, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Nababa as NCoS CG in February 2021.
The Minister is the Chairman of the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Board (CDCFIB).
The affected ACGs were summoned states outside Abuja to the NCoS headquarters in Abuja for a meeting with Nababa but were handed letters of voluntary retirement effective June 9, 2021.
A memo signed by Aisha A. Rufai of the CDCFIB read in part: “In view of the convention on seniority in the military and paramilitary services in respect to the newly appointed Controller-General, and in addition to other antecedents, you are hereby advised to proceed on voluntary retirement from the service with effect from 9th June 2021.”
A source told PRNigera that none of the retired officers was senior to the new CG.
“There are three DCGs who were promoted with effect from 1st January, 2019 and by that are senior to the CGC whose date of appointment was April 2021. The DCGs were left in the service.
“It is also curious that the letter of the retirement cited tradition in the military and paramilitary. There had never been such antecedents in NCoS.
COAS: Military opens up on alleged mass retirement of generals over Yahaya’s appointment
“In 1996, when Alhaji Ibrahim Jarma an ACG, was appointed CGP, he worked together with all his superior and contemporaries. In 2002 when Abraham Akpe was appointed, he worked with all his contemporaries.
“In 2006, when Olusola Ogundipe was picked from among the ACGs, he worked with hitherto superiors. In 2012, when DCG Zakari Ibrahim was appointed, he did the same. Dr. Peter Ekpendu too in 2014.
“When the immediate past substantive CGP was appointed, he worked with his superior and contemporaries. The only senior officer, Alhaji Aminu Sulley, he wanted to retire took the matter to court and won.”
The source added that the return of the officers would be in line with the reform of the NCoS spelt out in the Correctional Service Act 2019 signed by the President.
It was gathered that the officers have sent words to Buhari and the National Assembly to intervene in their retirement.