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Reps commence investigation into alleged resignation of 356 soldiers over ‘loss of interest’ in war against terrorism
THE Nigerian House of Representatives has adopted a motion to investigate the alleged resignation of 365 soldiers from the Nigerian Army.
More than 37,500 persons have been killed since insurgency started in 2009 in the Nigerian North East while an estimated 2.5 people have been displaced, according to Global Conflict Tracker.
Premium Times reported that the motion to investigate the alleged resignation of the 365 soldiers followed a unanimous adoption of a motion of Matters of Urgent Public Importance moved by Mohammed Monguno, the Chief Whip of the House and member representing Monguno/Marte/Nganzai Federal Constituency in Borno State, during the plenary on Tuesday.
Highlighting issues that have ravaged the Nigerian Army, Monguno said a Lance Corporal identified as Martin Idakpeni in a viral video had criticized Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, over attacks and killings of Nigerians and soldiers fighting the insurgency.
Munguno said on various occasions, Nigerian soldiers have disobeyed orders from superior officers in protest of poor welfare arrangements and alleged embezzlement of allowances by their superiors.
He added that there had been cases of mutiny resulting in sporadic shooting and attempted lynching of senior officers by junior officers.
The lawmaker also cited the case of Olusegun Adeniyi, a Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, who was removed for exposing lack of good military equipment.
“Recently, Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi, commander of operation Lahya Dole, Nigeria‘s Counter-Terrorism headquarters, was removed for exposing inferior military wares and poor equipment of troops while briefing the chief of army staff from combat zone after successfully repelling an attack from Boko Haram insurgents,” Munguno said.
“Concerned that not too long ago, the General Officer Commanding 7 division of the Nigeria Army in Maimalari, Major General Victor Ezegwu, escaped being lynched by rampaging soldiers for leaving them with neither food nor water while fighting in the northeastern part of the country for two days.”
He further stated that over 300 soldiers serving in the insurgency ridden North East left the service of the Nigerian Army over the loss of interest.
“On July 3, 2020, 356 soldiers which are a battalion, serving in the North East and other theatres of operations wrote to the Chief of Army Staff asking for voluntary retirement from the force and citing loss of interest as reasons for their retirement,” he said.
He criticized the Chief of Army Staff that rather than addressing the issue, the resignation was approved which could result in a security threat.
Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the Federal Assembly directed the House Committee on Army to investigate the allegations and report to the House in one week.
In a document with reference number AHQ DOAA/G1/300/92, signed by Brig-Gen T.E. Gagariga, on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, the approval of the resignation of the 365 soldiers was approved with notice to discharge the officers listed.
While 24 of them resigned to take traditional titles, the others cited ‘loss of interest’ as reasons for resignation.
In the document, the listed soldiers were asked to be released on terminal leave with effect from December 2, 2020.
“The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave while WEF 3 Dec 2020, while their disengagement takes effect from 3 Jan 2021in accordance with the administrative Policy and procedures No 27 paragraphs 3 & 4,” the document read.
However, the Nigerian Army had debunked a publication by Premium Times on the resignation of the soldiers over the loss of interest with the argument that it was an attempt to discredit the Nigerian Army.
“Malicious intent to discredit the efforts of the Nigerian Army as exemplified by the contradiction inherent in the publications below,” the Nigerian Army wrote on Twitter.