THORNS IN MY BOOT 37

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37

The Colonel G.S entered the Office accompanied by the trio of C.O Military Police, C.O Finance and C.O Signals, my C.O. they gave the G.O.C his compliments while I came to attention and gave them theirs.

They all stood at ease before the G.O.C, he then gave his copy of Amaka’s letter to my C.O , the Colonel G.S is the most senior Colonel in the Division expecting his next promotion to a Brigadier general soonest; he gave his own copy of the letter to the C.O Finance to share with the C.O Military Police but Amaka gave her own copy to the Military Police Officer.

After twenty minutes of flipping through the pages, the G.O.C asked my C.O

Garuba! What can you say to all that you just read!

Sir! My C.O replied: my R.S.M said the letter was a fake? He also studied law in the university so he confused me sir!

Who was the letter addressed to? The G.O.C asked.

It was addressed to you sir!

So why did it not get to me? A letter addressed to a major general was handed over to a colonel to deliver to the general, the Colonel handed over the generals letter to a common Soldier to deliver, the common Soldier opened the generals letter and read its content and went ahead to connive with the Colonel not to deliver the generals letter to him! This cannot be condoned! This is insubordination and total disrespect to the Office of the G.O.C and coming from a commanding Officer! A regular combatant like you Garuba! The G.O.C spoke at the top of his voice.

I am sorry sir! My C.O pleaded.

You are not yet sorry! You will soon be, the G.O.C said and continued; why did you pull out your service Pistol at your Soldier at the Golf Course and why did you not do anything when your Boys beat him up and dumped him in the gutter to die?
The C.O was quiet.

Garuba! You are gone o! You are gone! This woman has written to the Oputa Panel and the Army has instructed that I solve this case and revert to HQ A.S.A.P! You and your R.S.M want to mess up my Career because of your incompetency!

He then faced the Finance C.O: Adekunle! How come this man has not being receiving his salaries for the past eleven years? His record at Finance HQ is in green, so what happened at your end?

Sir! Colonel Adekunle explained; when the G.S called me some moments ago, he asked me to check up the update of the Soldiers name on the Divisions Pay roll and I did, his name is also in green here as his salary was authorized up till last month!
Good! Good! I love this! The G.O.C said; so who does the transfers to their individual bank accounts?

That is the job of my A.O and the pay master sir! Colonel Adekunle replied. Captain Buka and Staff sergeant Caleb sir.

Good! Good! G.O.C said; now! Colonel Martins! He called the C.O military Police; I want you to get the A.O and pay master Finance arrested! I want the silly R.S.M of the Signals Corp, the A.O and the Pay master arrested! I want you to send men to the house of staff sergeant Fasasi my secretary and arrest him immediately and I want Garuba here detained with immediate effect! I want action right away and give me feed back at 1600 hours!

The C.O Military Police immediately removed the Beret from my C.O’s head and removed his belt and Boots; he then led him out of our presence.

The G.O.C then turned to the C.O Finance; Adekunle! You can see that there are lapses in your unit! I want an update of all the Officers and Men on our Payroll here! I want you to send the list to all unit heads to confirm the names on the list against their real head counts! I think there are ghost Soldiers in this division! All the Soldiers that have died, are we still paying them? Are their families settled? The Soldiers that went on Awol without returning back to the force, are we still paying them? All Soldiers that are due for salary upgrade, are they receiving their dues? I want you to go back and put your house in order before I send the Army intelligence to clean your unit for you! Did you hear me Colonel! He barked.

Yes Sir! The colonel shouted

I want the salary account of all these men I ordered to be arrested frozen forthwith! They have been eating this Boy’s salaries for eleven years! I will make sure that anyone found guilty will be dismissed and jailed! The G.O.C continued to shout, banging his fist on his desk. Their gratuity will be used to settle this man’s eleven years Salaries they have eaten! All his leave days will be monetized and they will pay for it! They will all be jailed! Every Kobo that they ate will be vomited!

Call me the C.O Legal! Major Kalu Njoku! Call him here right away! We have to rejab this Boy right away! I want him under my command; I want him to replace that silly Fasasi as my secretary pending his commission!

When did you say you are graduating again? He asked me

This year sir! By September-October sir! I replied.

Good! Good! You do not need the N.Y.S.C Certificate as you are already serving the nation as a Soldier! I want your statement of result immediately you graduate; you will join the next set of short service commissioned Officers in N.D.A come January 2003! You will be number one on my list!
The C.O Finance and the Colonel G.S went out to get the C.O Legal department.

Can you imagine how wicked we humans can be? The G.O.C asked no one in particular. Every person that has had a hand in frustrating your re-absorption into the Army will be severely dealt with! Any Soldier or Officer that has tasted from your salaries while you were in prison till date will be called up and dealt with, whether the Person has been posted out o! Whether he is retired o! He or she must be brought to face the music! They will all pay. He said banging his hands on the desk again.

The two colonels entered the G.O.C’s Office with major Barrister Njoku kalu , the Army legal Adviser of the division. I was rejabbed into the Army and all formal documentations and records were updated and signed by the G.O.C.

Things happened so fast. My R.S.M in connivance with the signals past and present pay masters and Administrative Officers, the past and present Administrative Officer and pay master of the Finance Corp and the secretary of the G.O.C have been collecting my salaries in turns. They were all dismissed and jailed ten years each.

My C.O was demoted to the rank of a major; he was posted to Signals training school in Lagos as an instructor.
I resumed duty the next week as the confidential secretary to the General Officer commanding the 82nd division of the Nigerian army, the position is meant for an N.C.O, a non commissioned Officer like a sergeant or staff sergeant but I sat on the seat as a private Soldier. I was revered by all other Soldiers because they knew that apart from jailing and dismissing some Soldiers and Officers for my sake, I was also on the ‘A’ list of the G.O.C as regards commissioning to the rank of a second lieutenant.

To Be Continued

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