Falola’s demotion and killing the goose that lays golden egg
Sir: The lethal blow demoting Major General Patrick Adebayo Falola of the Nigerian Army to the rank of Brigadier by a Special Court Martial General is disheartening because the verdict was not based on law but on opinion.
Maj.Gen Falola who was accused of unlawful admission of nursing students for clinical training without due clearance from the Army Authority deserves a better deal going by his unblemished record as an Army Medical Consultant with a few years left in service. The verdict is like killing the goose that laid a golden egg. This is an officer who started as a Boy Soldier through the military school and who by act of omission or commission is being treated like a criminal for empowering Nigerian citizens to train in an hospital where he was commander. The punishment for the alleged offence is like using a sledge hammer to kill a fly.
The court lost touch with human solid responsibility bestowed on it without basic ethical commitment which should be granted to a medical professional of General Falola’s rank and who was not unethical by his action in admitting student nurses for clinical training under his command.
During the trial, the office of the Military Secretary (Army) presented records of an officer commissioned in 1982, describing him as a person with impeccable character, known for his intelligence, honesty, transparency, dedication to work and enthusiasm for military service particularly as an outstanding senior consultant ophthalmologist who has headed many military hospitals in Nigeria.
This writer came across Falola when he was posted to Kano as the Brigadier General to head the Armed Forces Specialist Hospital. It was there his dedication to work and resourcefulness came to the fore front when he organised community leaders, urging them to invite their families for medical treatment in the hospital. Maj.Gen. Falola impressed it on them that military hospitals don’t go on strike and that the hospital was opened to the public. The advocacy took him to the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II who gave him a red carpet welcome and commended him for his brilliant performance. Did he have to take permission as a Maj.Gen. to carry out his duties from the Army Authorities before giving back to his immediate communities?
The blind eyes turned by the Court Martial to his other services as a past Chairman of Lagos State Chapter of Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN); as commander of Military Army Reference Hospital, Lagos (Greek) and as Commander of 3rd Division Hospital, Jos where he stopped cholera outbreak with proactive initiatives calls for question. General Falola should not be a victim of witch-hunting by his detractors who would like him not to head the Military Medical Corps of Nigeria. There is, therefore, a procedural error in arraigning him before a court martial instead of Army Council where a senior General would preside. The Army Council and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari should, therefore, ensure that Maj.Gen. Falola is not unduly punished
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