NIGERIAN Army (NA) has ordered a probe into the allegation of poor feeding of troops at the battlefront.
The probe might not be unconnected to a report by Sahara Reporters on the alleged complaints of insufficient nutrition and other welfare issues by Nigerian soldiers serving on the front lines in the country’s North-East.
The media organisation, in a report published on Tuesday, September 26, stated that several members of the 154 Taskforce Battalion of the Nigerian Army fighting terrorists complained that they were only receiving rice cooked improperly despite an increase in funding for their food allowance.
One of the soldiers, who is injured, claimed that the Battalion in Ngamdu, led by A. A. Buba, only provided them with bread and tea for breakfast on Mondays and Thursdays, rice for dinner on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and stew on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, “but concoction rice for the remaining weekdays.”
The Nigerian Army, in a statement on Tuesday, October 3, signed by its Director Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu, said its attention was drawn to the claims.
The Army said it was crucial to inform the public that its present leadership prioritised troops’ welfare.
According to the statement, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Taoreed Lagbaja’s, priority is to provide “Sound Administration” to ensure a highly motivated force.
“The NA, therefore, takes these allegations very seriously, and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has directed immediate investigation into the complaints to ascertain their veracity and unravel the circumstances.
“The NA wishes to assure the public and all NA personnel that a thorough investigation will be conducted to get to the bottom of these claims,” the statement reads.
It added that a comprehensive system was in place to ensure that troops received adequate and balanced meals, especially those serving at the frontline, and the meals were prepared under strict quality control measures.
The NA acknowledged that there might be isolated incidents where lapses occur and promised to address them.
The Force said an internal investigation had already been initiated to ascertain the truth behind these allegations and promised to thoroughly examine the supply chain, food quality provided, and any other factors that might have contributed to the situation.
“The NA is committed to transparency and accountability and will not condone any form of negligence or misconduct. If any culpability is detected, it will attract appropriate disciplinary action. Immediate corrective measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future will be taken.
“We also encourage NA personnel to report any grievances or concerns they may have regarding their feeding arrangements. We have established channels for feedback and will take prompt action to address any legitimate complaints,” the statement added.
The Army said it remained resolute in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges and would ensure that soldiers were provided with the necessary support and care they required to carry out their duties effectively.