By Musdapha Ilo
Nigerian soldiers who recently returned from a UN special peace-keeping mission in northern Mali have alleged they were short-changed by the Army.
The soldiers, numbering about 100, who returned to the country on August 1 and were immediately deployed to Borno State to combat the Boko Haram insurgency, told journalists in Maiduguri on Friday that their operation allowances in Mali, part of which was paid to them on arrival, was slashed.
“They know we cannot protest because of the rule of engagement and they cheated us after we have risked our lives, left our families for seven months,” one of the soldiers complained.
It was learnt that instead of the N164, 500 ($1,028) per month, totalling over $7, 000 US dollar for the seven months which each participant in the Mali operation was expected to receive, they got between $5,000 and $5,420 US dollar without any explanation.
The soldiers noted that this treatment was unfair, noting that some of their colleagues who went to the operation with their bosses or those who have god-father received full payments.
“When we asked what happened to the balance of over $2,000 dollar, the pay officers simply told us that was what they were instructed to do. It is sad our ogas are treating us like this and feeding fat on us on the field,” another soldier said.
Another operational allowance, about $38 US dollar was equally slashed as the soldiers were allegedly paid paltry $20.