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About 4, 000 soldiers from different military units, who were said to have been summarily dismissed by their respective unit commanders now have cause to smile as the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), has ordered their “rejab” into the military. The word rejab, in military parlance, means reabsorption.
New Telegraph gathered from a military source yesterday that the decision to reabsorb the soldiers, who were part of the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, was taken after the authorities discovered that the commanders’ action was ultra vires. The affected soldiers, it was gathered, were summarily dismissed for alleged cowardice and other offences.
However, a senior military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the commanders lacked the authority to summarily dismiss the soldiers.
According to him, the military high command is conscious of promoting justice and fairness in the Armed Forces and that informs why it does not deviate from the Armed Forces Act, which guides its operations. He said: “The Defence Headquarters has ordered the rejab of about 4000 soldiers who were accused of cowardice and other offences against military rules and were summarily dismissed.
“Most of them are infantry soldiers from different military units. “One of the reasons for the well-intentioned action of the Defence Headquarters is because the summary trial, in the first instance, was ultra vires; beyond the powers of the various unit commanders.
“Under Section 124 (6) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A 20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, the commanders do not have powers to try such offences like cowardice and other related offences summarily.” Several efforts to reach the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major General Chris Olukolade, for official comment, did not yield result, as calls to his phone line did not go through. He had not replied to a text message sent to him as at 7p.m. yesterday.