In a major policy reversal, the Nigerian military is set to end the admission of female cadets into the combatant course of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
It was learnt that the recommendation to end the programme was made by the Armed Forces Council which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Last week, the president ratified the National Defence Policy 2017 (Revised); Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service Officers 2017.
Recommendation 19 of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of the Armed Forces of Nigeria was sighted by one of our correspondents on Sunday.
It read, “Phase out the training of female regular combatant cadets.”
A serving general in the Nigerian Army said that the military took the decision due to complaints from some unnamed northern Muslim leaders.
The general, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, explained that there are various types of commissions in the Armed Forces namely: Regular Combatant Commission, Short Service Combatant Commission, Direct Regular Commission, Direct Short Service and Executive Commission.
He said, “It is only the Regular Combatant Commission that can give an officer the opportunity to aspire to head any of the services or rise to become the Chief of Defence Staff, while the others have limited career paths.
“If the military is able to scrap this programme, women will never be able to head any of the arms of the Nigerian military.
“The northern Muslim leaders want to prevent a situation where one day, a woman will lead the army and give orders to men.”
A set of 20 females, nicknamed Jonathan Queens, were first admitted into the course in Nigeria’s premier military officer training institution during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2011.