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Buratai assures soldiers will get outstanding allowances this week

Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, says the two-month outstanding operational allowance of soldiers who are taking part in Operation Lafiya Dole will be cleared this week.

Buratai’s announcement is coming only a day after an undisclosed soldier wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that there is massive corruption in the military’s prosecution of the war against Boko Haram.

Sani Usman, Director of Army Public Relations, issued a statement on Monday quoting Buratai as saying that the Ministry of Defence had released funds for the payment of the troops’ outstanding logistics and operational allowances for the third quarter of 2017.

Usman also said Buratai commended the troops for their unflinching loyalty, perseverance, courage and dedication to duty.

“The COAS has also assured troops especially those on Operation LAFIYA DOLE of their welfare. This is coming from the good news of the release of funds for the payment of operational allowances and logistics for the Third Quarter 2017 from the Ministry of Defence,” Usman stated

“He further stated that this would facilitate the payment of operational allowances owed to them for the last 2 months this week accordingly.

“The COAS while thanking them for their patriotism, patience and understanding, further reiterated that he will ensure that as usual, all funds meant for the troops and the Operation LAFIYA DOLE will always be paid promptly when received from the appropriate Ministries.”

On Sunday, several media organizations published an open letter purportedly written to President Buhari by an undisclosed soldier.

In the letter, the soldier alleged that he and his colleagues were being owed three months in operations allowances and have had to rely only on their “meager” salaries for all their expenses.

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“Your Excellency, this is the third month in a row that we have been denied of our operations allowance. We have to rely ONLY on our meagre salary for everything,” the letter read.

“From battalion commanders, to Company and Sectors leaders, we are all in debt, because our salaries are not enough to sustain us at the battlefront while feeding our families back at home.

“It is a big shame that we have joined the Army to defend the civilians, yet we have to go to the civilians in town to borrow money to fend for ourselves at the battlefront.

“Take for instance the food that we are fed, most of the times it is not fit for human consumption.

“The taste of the food is so bad that we have to add surplus salt to be able to eat it. This is also dangerous for our health. A plate of our food per soldier is probably about two hundred Naira.

“It is said that the Federal Government spends about fourteen thousand Naira (N14,000) on each prisoner in Nigeria. Here, at the battlefront in Operation LAFIYA DOLE, the Army spends about six hundred Naira (N600) per day per soldier on feeding us, while in reality billions of Naira is appropriated per year for this purpose.

“We are treated like animals. Most of us are afraid to talk because of the dire consequence.

“Your Excellency, corruption in the Army is REAL, and it is killing us.

“Every man and woman who decided to join the Army knows the risks (but) while we expect to die in the hands of the enemy, we don’t expect to die in the hands of the Nigerian Army, due to corruption and criminal negligence.”

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