Troops deployed by the 152 Battalion of the Nigerian Army for Operation Hadi Kai in the Northeast region have lamented the alleged misuse of power against their rights by their Commanding Officer, Brigadier General AD Aliyu.
The soldiers in their cry for urgent intervention by the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence Staff, Theatre Commander and the General Commanding Officer of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, lamented acute hunger, saying they are not properly fed. They also lamented the non-payment of their allowances.
The soldiers lamented that they are not given good food and enough food and that they eat meat once a month, buy medicine from public medical vendors due to poor medication, and bribe to get welfare passes to get out of the bush and see their families.
A source in the army said, “We are recognised as soldiers with loyalty, obedience, discipline, dedication and service. We are soldiers that are ready to protect our beloved country by all course even in the valley of death.
“We are the soldiers sacrificing our today for our beloved country’s tomorrow. We are crying out with pain because of discouragement and demoralization of our morale and fighting spirit due to the bad treatment we are facing from our commander.
“How can a soldier who has spent all his life fighting the enemy not be given good food to have the strength to stand and fight well?
“Yes, sometimes in the bush, the quality of the food doesn’t matter but let it be edible. We can manage, but here, no quality, no quantity. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at once and still not be satisfied. We eat meat once a month, soldiers buy medicine due to poor medication.
“Soldiers pay bribes to get welfare passes to get out of the bush and see their families.
“The CO (Commanding Officer) also failed to pay soldiers picketing allowance for two months in the name of wanting to buy equipment. Meanwhile, nothing has been bought to date.
“Due to lack of maintenance, soldiers on patrol mostly push the gun truck back to the camp.
“Delay and failure to pay habit allowance while other units are paid. We know we don’t have freedom of speech and things like this should not be broadcast on social media, but we have no means to convey our heart cry to the ASA, it’s not easy for troops down here.
“We are pleading with the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Theatre Commander, 7 DIV GOC to look into our condition.”
In a similar development, soldiers in the Nigerian Military School (NMS) have lamented nonpayment of their Instructor Allowance for the first quarter of the year while according to them, their counterparts in other army schools like Nigerian Depot Army, Nigerian Defence Academy, Nigerian Army School of Language, Nigerian Army College of Education, Nigerian Army School of Medical Sciences, Nigerian Army School of Nursing and Nigerian Army School of Armour have been receiving their allowances.
Lamenting their ordeal, one of the soldiers told SaharaReporters, “The Nigerian Army has become an organisation where the ant drags the elephant. Most non-commissioned officers don’t have anything to say.”
They said that according to the ideal standard of the Nigerian Army, any personnel who is attending a training school is entitled to Instructor Allowance (IA).
According to them, the instructor allowance is usually paid quarterly and in the Army, there are four quarters which are based on three months per quarter.
“Now that we are in August, we have finished the first and second quarters and we have entered the third quarter but as we speak, the first quarter allowances are being paid to our counterparts in most of the training schools but the Nigerian Military School personnel have not received their IA till today.
“The worst problem is that we don’t know who to complain to and we don’t know the reason. We have received a series of unconfirmed reports that the fault is from the Commandant of the Nigerian Military School.
“These soldiers in training schools are not entitled to much allowances and the little IA of N75,000 after three months, cannot be paid.
“Most of the personnel in the Nigerian Military School could not pay their children’s school fees because all their hope was on the IA, and with the reality of the high cost of living, soldiers are suffering across the country.
“If you are a corporal, your salary is not more than N2,000 per day. Can an average Nigerian with a wife and two kids survive on that per day? We are using this opportunity to cry to the military command if they are not aware of our trauma in the Nigerian Military School. We have not even received our IA for the first quarter of this year and the Commandant has not addressed us, so, we don’t know what exactly is the problem,” another source said.
However, attempts by SaharaReporters to get the comments of the Nigerian Army on the issues failed as the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, did not answer calls made to his phone number nor reply to text messages sent to him till the time of filing this report.