Thirty-five years after retirement from military service, former Director General of the National Youth Service Corps, Col. Peter Obasa (retd), has made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to pay his gratuity and pension.
Speaking with journalists in his Ilorin residence on Thursday where he presented his new book, The House of Exile, Obasa, who is now 81 years old, begged Buhari to correct the “injustice meted to some Nigerians,” including himself, when Buhari came to power as the military head of state in 1984.
Obasa served as the Director General of NYSC between 1979 and 1984, during which he was incacerated.
Recalling his experience in 1984, Obasa said that till date, he had yet to receive any letter of dismissal from the Army, even though he had been informed of the non-payment of his entitlement.
“I make my appeal to Mr. President, in the name of Almighty God, in the names of all that are holy, in the names of all that are good, true, and just, to give me justice of the type that will attract the approval of God”, he said.
Continuing, he noted: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria official gazette No 56 of November 6, 1986, under Ministry of Defence, Nigerian Army officers, voluntary/compulsory and dismissal, page 1340, declares that I was compulsorily retired from the Army.
“Under that condition, I should be entitled to my gratuity and pension. The Army has denied me both.
“They claim that I was dismissed. If that was the case, a letter to that effect would have been served on me, and the Army would have withdrawn my officer’s sword, ceremonial dress, mess jacket and service suit.
“I received no letter, and I’m still in possession of the items mentioned above.
“I fought through the tumultuous and terrifying period of my trial and more than seven years in incarceration, and I am here by the special grace of God to ask for true justice,” he said.
Obasa described his trial by the Supreme Military Council headed by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as illegalities of 1984, saying that the SMC promulgated decrees that had retroactive effect.
“The laws were backdated by three years. This is immoral and illegal. The SMC took over the roles of the executive, legislative and judiciary, the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge. This is illegal.
“The Nigerian Bar Association condemned this and prohibited its members from appearing before the tribunals to defend accused persons.
“The process of trial was gravely flawed. Trials were in secret. The public was denied access to the tribunals and it was only when judgement was passed that the world became informed of the verdict.
“All statements from suspects were extracted under duress. This is illegal. Accused persons were compelled long before trial began to sign away the contents of their accounts under duress by the same characters who came to testify at the tribunal that the accused willingly signed away everything. This is illegal.
“Falsified documents (as exhibits) were brought into the tribunal by the Special Investigation Panel. This too is illegal. Accused people were incarcerated in solitary confinements, denied access to their families and prevented from reaching anything that would enhance their defence. This is illegal.
“They made it impossible for accused persons to explain clearly how they came about what they had. Everything went under the label of kickback. This is illegal.
“False witnesses were press-ganged to testify against accused persons. This is illegal.
“From the beginning to the end in my case, the truth was undermined and justice was perverted. This, too, is illegal,” Pa Obasa said.