Three hundred and eighty six Soldiers are formally exiting the Nigerian Army Force in what seem to be a way of protesting against the continuous onslaught of their fellow colleagues by terrorists group.
This development came as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the directions the leaders at the helm of affairs are taking towards counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorist and Islamic State in west Africa Province (ISWAP).
The mass disengagement of the Soldiers was acknowledged in a Nigerian Army Circular dated July 8, 2020 and signed by Brig-Gen. TE Gagariga on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, with subject: ‘Approval for voluntary/medical discharge soldiers: First and Second Quarters 2020 79NA/ MWO OA and 385 others’.
The Soldiers are thereby allowed to take their terminal leave on the 3rd of December, 2020 while they will be officially disengaged from service on the 3rd of Jan, 2020.
Gagariga in the circular stated that Buratai in compliance with the provision of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service (Revised) 2017, “has approved the voluntary/medical retirement of the above named MWO and 385 others”. Their names were listed in listed in Annexes A and B.
The circular read: “The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave WEF 3 Dec 20 while their disengagement date takes effect 3 Jan 21 in accordance with the NA Administrative Policy and Procedures No 27 paragraph 3 and 4 “Accordingly, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at HQ CAR with their unit service documents for documentation NLT 1 October 20 to ensure that:
“All forms of Military controlled items, arms, ammunition and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certify that they are properly de-kitted.”
Meanwhile in a separate statement on its verified Facebook page, the Nigerian Army said that 4,600 Patriots recently joined the Army and indicted interest in fighting terrorism.
The statement reads partly: “The 365 soldiers who left the Army disengaged in a normal routine exercise at the end of their service.
The Nigerian Army is not in short supply of Nigerians willing to join its ranks. 4,600 Patriots recently joined the Nigerian Army out of which a large proportion opted to go into Special Forces fighting terrorism”.
Also troops in the frontline have denied reports of low morale, insisting that they are “well motivated, happy and ready to fight for their fatherland which is the professional responsibility of the Nigerian Army”.
One of the Commanders on the frontline, who pleaded anonymity, condemned the report as a distraction, adding that “our troops are happy and willing to fight. I have soldiers here with me and we fight day and night”.