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Soldiers in terror battleground protest poor equipment, unpaid salaries


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SOLDIERS from an unidentified battalion of Operation Lafiya Dole, a theatre prosecuting the war against insurgency in the North-East of the country, have protested poor equipment and non-payment of their salaries.

According to Channels Television, the aggrieved soldiers protested on Thursday following their redeployment to a location in the Theatre of Operation.

Unnamed sources at the Maimalari Barracks said the troops besieged the headquarters of the Theatre Command in Borno State, shooting sporadically into the air to express their grievances and misgivings.

Some of the soldiers who spoke under anonymity recalled how a whole unit that went for reinforcement when Marte was captured last month perished under superior firepower of the enemy forces.

Read Also: Retired soldiers occupy Finance Ministry in protest against unpaid pensions

This protest is coming on the heels of arms procurements scandal recently exposed by national security adviser Babagana Monguno.

No less than $1 billion was released for the procurement, according to Monguno, a retired major general.

The director of army public relations Mohammed Yerima told The ICIR that it was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that was responsible for the payment of troop salaries and not the army.

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“The army is not responsible for the payment of salaries. It is the CBN that does,” he said.

When further asked why there was a complaint of poor equipment despite the huge funds dedicated to that by the government, he directed this reporter to the defense headquarters, noting that the army would only make use of the equipment made available to it.

The defense headquarters could not be reached for comments as several calls made to its spokesperson Clement Onyeama Nwachukwu were not answered.

A report that confirmed the resignation of 386 soldiers from the Nigerian Army in the second quarter of 2020 by the House of Representatives earlier this month had noted that the welfare of soldiers across army formations “has been a recurrent challenge over the years,” stating that though there was an improvement in their welfare packages, and “soldiers still stressed on an urgent need for the Army to do more.”

“That there should be effective monitoring or follow-up in the delivery of the welfare packages in all the army formations to ensure that they reach out to all the beneficiaries (the soldiers) in a fair and equitable manner.

“That the army should continuously embark on an orientation of soldiers – both old and new – about the reality of their jobs and the need to be committed to their country. This will reduce the number of soldiers leaving the army due to loss of interest.”

Military court demotes general who decried inadequate weapon to fight Boko Haram

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According to the report, the number of disengagements was far lower than the enlistment in the army in the last five years.

It stated that about 6,752 personnel were disengaged and 25,655 were enlisted, adding that not all the soldiers who voluntarily resigned were actively involved in combat operations.

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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