The Nigerian Army has denied that it has neglected soldiers wounded in the fight against Boko Haram, saying reports on the contrary are only meant to demoralise troops and downplay recent successes against the terrorists’ group.
The army was reacting to an investigation by TheCable, an online newspaper, which exposed the terrible conditions wounded soldiers are facing in military hospitals in Maiduguri and Kahuna.
The investigation, done by TheCable’s editor, ‘Fisayo Soyombo, with support from the icirnigeria.org, exposes the corruption in the welfare of wounded soldiers, some of whom have had to wait for months, even years, without any hope in sight.
But the army has said the allegations are not true.
In a terse statement issued by army spokesperson, Sani Usman, a Colonel, the army said the report is “unacceptable” and “inaccurate”.
“Most of narrations were outright falsehood and calculated attempt to cause disaffection amongst personnel.
“It is therefore safe to conclude that ICIR and The Cable have embarked on yet another round of subversive activities in order to portray the Nigerian Army and the nation as uncaring. This is in an effort to score cheap popularity or create an aura of a professional investigative journalists for themselves. They are far from that, rather they are bunch of fifth columnists that enhance the work of crisis merchants and terrorists.”
However, as if to contradict itself, the army suggested that the allegations are true but said they did not happen under the current leadership.
“It is important to state that most of what they were alleging took place between 2012 and early 2015. This did not take into account the changes and progress recorded within the last one year especially with the coming on board of the present Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai in July 2015,” it said, adding that the current leadership of the army takes seriously the issue of welfare, including flying wounded soldiers abroad for treatment.
“Additionally, from July 2015 to date, no fewer than 71 officers and soldiers with medical issues were medically evacuated to various countries such as India, UAE, Scotland and Germany by the Nigerian Army. It is important to note that while some were treated abroad, others were treated here in Nigeria by specialists based on the severity of their cases. Those with prosthetic limbs made in India are 16 in number, while those with prosthetic limbs procured in Nigeria are 9 in number,” the statement added.
While saying it has nothing to hide, the army said it will not tolerate infractions from its personnel with regards to troops welfare.