Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Dismissed Naval Officers Beg For Buhari’s Intervention

Two dismissed Naval officers who have tried every means of getting back into the Nigeria Navy after they were ‘illegally’ dismissed have urged the newly sworn-in president, to please look into their cases because they have committed no offence. One of them said he took permission to take his wife to the hospital when she was seriously ill, but unfortunately, she died and he had to go and bury her, a development he also reported to his superior before embarking on the journey, but on getting back to the camp, he was imprisoned for months and was later dismissed for being absent from duty. The other officer said, he was accused of insubordination and dismissed from service. 

Ehimen Benjamin with service No X10645 was enlisted into the Nigeria Navy in Port Harcourt in 2006 and was posted to Lagos Naval Base to serve in the waterways. He was accused and dismissed from the service for absence from duty. It all started when he returned from his late wife’s burial.

According to Benjamin, “My wife was sick and she was in a bad condition. I took permission from my superior officer to rush her to the hospital for treatment. She died and I had to take her for burial in Esan West local government area of Edo State where we hail from. Before leaving for the village, I told my divisional officer in my base the situation on ground.

As soon as I returned from the burial, I reported at my base in Lagos but I was detained and imprisoned for three months for absence from duty after which I was released and dismissed from the Nigeria Navy in 2008. To him, he did not commit any criminal offence that warrants his sudden dismissal.

Benjamin said, he was just a victim of evil predicaments noting that if he had committed any criminal offence, he couldn’t have had the boldness to make efforts to be restated in the Navy.

“I have made all efforts by going to many lawyers in Abuja to help me so that I could be recalled to service but all efforts have proved abortive.

“Even as I reported to the office after the funeral of my late wife, I was not considered by my boss. Life has not been easy with me since I was dismissed from the Navy. My family members who depended on my salary have also suffered from my predicament. I took permission from my divisional officer before I travelled but I was still dismissed from the service.

“I’m pleading with the incoming government to look into our service records because I know our president-elect is a retired general in the army and if someone is guilty, he would know. I want to return to service because I was illegally dismissed from service by my superior officer without investigating my service records.

“As an okada rider now, it has not been a sweet one for me. I try to work hard to earn a living so that I wouldn’t be tempted to steal from anybody. If not the fear of God, as a trained personnel that was pushed out of service for no reasons, I would have got into crime because of frustration. I had been trained; I have the experience nobody can take that from me but I still believe that God can do something for me. I have been patient about it; I have not rested since I was dismissed from service. I will continue to fight it till I am called back to service,” he stated.

Durven Emmanuel with service No X8596 was another naval officer was accused of insubordination by his superior officer in 2008 which led to his dismissal from service after serving for eight years. According to him, “I was in a bank at the Naval base in Lagos to get some money. After accessing my account, I discovered that there was a deduction from my account and I quickly notified the cashier to find out what happened.

“On the process of clarification, there was a little argument between us. I had to caution myself knowing that the bank is inside the Navy base. To my surprise, a senior officer came to the point of our discussion and asked why I was shouting at the lady. I didn’t know that the lady was her course mate in school. I had to explain to my superior what happened but he refused listening to me and I had to leave the banking hall at that moment.

“My superior followed me outside; grabbed me and started beating me up even while I was in my uniform. I was detained for two months at the Naval prison in Lagos. After serving my punishment, I was still dismissed from the service. What I was expecting from my superior was to report the case to the Naval police for necessary action instead, I was molested by him,” he said.

Emmanuel said that, “proper investigation into the issue was not done by the Navy authority in Lagos. My service records were not verified. I was sent away without any benefits after serving for eight years in the Navy. Anytime I recall what happened to me, my happiness disappears because I was victimised as a junior officer.

“I was dismissed for no reason after serving my punishment in prison for two months. For my officer to accuse me of fighting him is falsehood without investigation. This kind of predicament can add to the insecurity we are facing in our country today. We read in the papers and watch on television how former military personnel are getting involved in terrorism. Some of these people were dismissed unjustly from the service. Now, I am surviving on car wash business because that is where I get my daily bread from. I’m pleading to be investigated by the military authority in Abuja to know the true story that led to our dismissal from the Navy,” he said.

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