A Lieutenant Colonel of the Nigerian Army, Kingsley Iberi, is currently down with stroke and paralysis after 14 years of waiting for his entitlements which have not come.
Punch Metro learnt that 63-year-old Iberi, who hails from Igbanke, Edo State, joined the army in January 1972 as a Cadet Officer, having finished from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna State. His first place of posting was 24 Infantry Battalion in Gboko, Benue State.
Our correspondent gathered that Iberi, who rose to the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel in December 1990, was, however, dismissed from the army in 1998 after a court martial, which his family described as a shoddy process.
He was tried by the army for conspiracy, cheating and impersonation, which Iberi claimed he knew nothing about.
It was learnt that in 2002, Iberi filed an appeal against his dismissal at the Federal Court of Appeal, Lagos, and the court ruled in February 2013 that Iberi should be reinstated in the army while his entitlements from 1998, when he was wrongfully dismissed, be paid to him.
However, the family claimed that the Nigerian Army had yet to obey the court judgment.When PUNCH Metro visited Iberi on Wednesday, the sexagenarian, who now uses a stand-up lift to stand and walk, said since age could not allow him return to service, the authorities of the Nigerian Army should pay his entitlements as the court had ruled since 2013.
He said, “I was not just wrongfully dismissed from the army, I was made to serve a two-year jail term at a Military Police Cell in Apapa. It was when I came out that I filed the appeal, and the court ruled that both the court martial judgment and the term I served were invalid, and I should be reinstated and paid my entitlements.
“I developed this illness as a result of the shock that my entitlements stopped suddenly and my family would have to live in penury. As I speak with you, my wife sells in Oshodi so that the family can survive. The last salary I was paid was in June 1997 before the hasty judgment. I want the authorities to implement the court ruling and pay me all my entitlements.”
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. General Olajide Laleye, told our correspondent on the phone that the court judgment would undergo some due processes at the army’s legal department.He added that it was wrong of Iberi to have taken his plight to the media because the media neither employed him nor dismissed him.
He said, “It is quite strange that an officer would start talking about what happened to him to the press. Why is the officer going about to complain about what is entirely a Nigerian Army affair?
“If a court has passed a judgment; the court knows how to send the judgment to the Nigerian Army. When the judgment gets here, it goes to the legal privacy. There is a procedure to be followed. The court has already given a judgment and we know what to do in respect of it. The army must follow it own procedures in respect of what the court has passed.”