…365 soldiers exit Nigerian Army due to technical, equipment and welfare sufferings
The House of Representatives has decided to investigate the purported mass exit of soldiers from the Nigerian Army, lamenting that it will aggravate the security challenges in the country.
The Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, moved the motion at the plenary on Tuesday which was co-sponsored by Deputy Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu; and Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, and jointly adopted by the House.
It was described, ‘Need to Investigate the Purported Voluntary Resignation of Over 365 Soldiers from the Nigerian Army’.
The exacted number of the soldiers that tendered their resignation letter was 365 based on a memo from the aggrieved soldiers to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, dated July 3, 2020, with Reference Number NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Soldiers/Ratings/Airmen (Revised) 2017.
The approval of the voluntary disengagement of the 356 soldiers as contained in a 17-page document from Buratai, AHQ DOAA/G1/300/92, signed by Brig-Gen T.E. Gagariga, for the army chief, has earlier been reported.
Also, the document was copied to Headquarters, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Borno State, the Headquarters of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 81, and 82 Divisions of the Nigerian Army and other formations.
The House having adopted the motion, however delegated its Committee on Army to “investigate these allegations and report back in one week”.
Monguno noted, while moving the motion, that the Nigeria Army is the largest section of the Nigerian Armed Forces with a staff strength of about 200,000 soldiers. They are saddled with the obligations of commanding land warfare operations as well as protecting and defending the territorial integrity of the Nigeria as a country as founded in 1960.
The Chief Whip also educed that a Lance Corporal in the Nigerian Army in person of Martin Idakpein, posted a video on the Internet on June 22, 2020 in which he condemned the lackadaisical attitude of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, in respect to the assaults and killings of civilians and soldiers as well as the indescribable hardship soldiers encounter as they engage in combat operations.
Monguno said, “The House is aware that on several occasions Nigerian soldiers have disobeyed orders from superior officers in protest against poor welfare arrangements and alleged embezzlement of allowances due them by their superiors. There have been cases of mutiny resulting in sporadic shooting and attempt lynching of senior officers.
“Recently, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Nigeria‘s counter-terrorism headquarters, was removed for complaining about inferior military wares and poor equipment of troops, while briefing the Chief of Army Staff from combat zone after successfully repelling an attack from Boko Haram insurgents.
“The House is concerned that not too long ago, the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, of the Nigeria Army in Maimalari, Major General Victor Ezegwu, escaped being lynched by rampaging soldiers for leaving them with neither food nor water while fighting in the northeastern part of the country for two days.
“The House is further concerned that on the 3rd of July 2020, via a (a memo with) Reference Number NA/COAS/001, 356 soldiers, which is a battalion, serving in the North-East and other theatres of operations, wrote to the Chief of Army Staff, asking for voluntary retirement from the force and citing loss of interest as reasons for their retirement.”
The Chief Whip specified that the Reps were bothered that these outrageous resignations were linked to loss of morale, unimproved allowances, mass fatalities in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists due to lack of equipment, technical means, poor welfare packages for them and their families by the army authorities.