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It is mischief and misinformation, DHQ reacts to report of mass exit of soldiers

JOHN Enenche, the Director of Defence Information at the Nigerian Defence Headquarters says it was sheer mischief and misinformation to regard the report of about 356 soldiers leaving the military as a mass exodus and blow to war against insurgency.

Enenche, a Major General in the Nigerian Army spoke Wednesday night while appearing on Politics Today, a prime time programme  on Channels Television.

“It is just mischief and misinformation,” Enenche, said in reaction to a recent media report about mass exodus of soldiers from the Army over low moral and poor motivation.

A Premium Times report had earlier disclosed how 356 soldiers allegedly left the Army due to poor motivation.

While reacting to claims that there has been loss of public trusts in the military, the Defence Spokesperson maintained that nothing is fundamentally wrong with the military, reaffirming that soldiers exiting the military were normal activity.

“We have a routine where people come in, every year on a regular basis, regular recruitment, regular intakes and then exits. It is a system that is self-controlled,” he said.

“And once you have served your common service, six years, 12 years, 18 years, you can go. So did people not leave in 2015? Didn’t officers and soldiers leave in 2016, didn’t they leave in 2017 and 2018, 2019? Why must this one be a difference? And it will continue?” Enenche asked.

“It is just packaging information to misinform people, presenting them with different perspectives and lies,” Enenche noted on the national broadcast, querying public reactions over the reported 356 soldiers who left the army.

Though, he acknowledged the Nigerian Army has not met up with the expectations of the public mainly in the Northeast, he said the public impression is normal.

The Army General insisted on his position and disagreed on the notion of soldiers leaving the force as a result of low morale.

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He attempted to justify his arguments by asking a rhetorical question on the number of soldiers enlisted yearly but did not state further.

However, the Defence Spokesperson could not provide actual statistics of the military personnel that  have already left the military in the last one year.

Rather, Enenche tasked critics to evaluate records of the Nigerian Air force, Navy, Army to establish figure of military personnel that retire annually in comparison with recruitment.

The Army, he noted, recruits twice annually but for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you don’t allow exits, how do other people come in. There are lots of factors. It is not even about getting to the ranks,” he said.

“For some people to get to this rank (pointing at his rank emblem) takes close to 33 years. And some people have left by the way – the same thing with other ranks. So, it is not true.”

“….enlistment and discharge is a routine and regular thing and it will continue as long as the system lasts.”

The army has been actively involved in  fighting the Boko Haram insurgent in recent years.

Founded in 2002, the Boko Haram insurgent group began launching military attacks in 2009 to create an Islamic state in the country, beyond its original focus against western education.

In July 2015,  Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff launched Operation Lafiya Dole to conquer the terrorists. The operation replaced Operation Zaman Lafiya.

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Troops were repeatedly deployed to the war theatre since the operation kick-started but some of the military personnel complained of overstay at the battlefront in the northeast region.

The soldiers, in recent times, have also expressed concerns over poor weapons, reported compromise within the Army, non-payment of allowances among other factors attributed to low morale and mass exit of 356 soldiers.

As a result, members of the National Assembly  vowed to probe the rationale behind the reported mass resignation.

They cited an instance of Olusegun Adeniyi, a Major General and former Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole that was reportedly removed due to his complaint on inferior military wares, poor equipment and other matters affecting welfare of the troops.

In June, President Muhammadu Buhari, through Babagana Monguno, his National Security Adviser (NSA) expressed his dissatisfaction over continuous insecurity in the country.

 

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