Soldiers protest against non-reinstatement after Buhari’s directive
ABOUT 89 soldiers dismissed for allegedly deserting the battle field in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, under the Nigerian Army Operation Zaman Lafiya, embarked on a peaceful protest in Kaduna yesterday, urging the military authorities to reinstate them to join their colleagues in the North East, in continuation of the war against insurgency.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier ordered that all the soldiers dismissed in 2015 for losing ammunition to Boko Haram insurgents in Cameroun should be reinstated, while the Army had in a memo with reference number NA/COAS/GI/7/1 dated July 30, 2015 set up a committee to screen cases of dismissal from the operation.
The aggrieved soldiers who stormed the premises of the secretariat of Kaduna State Correspondent’s chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) yesterday, spoke through their spokesman, Warrant Officer (WO) Shehu Ibrahim, saying that the Army Committee met in Jaji, Kaduna, screened and declared them qualified to be reinstated. But they have not been called back for reasons unknown to them.
He argued that it was after the clearance that the soldiers were further moved to Kontagora on September 24, 2015 where they went through several weeks of retraining.
The soldiers said the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, at a point drafted an army officer to investigate their matter, which was done.
But when journalists contacted the Army Assistant Public Relations Officer, One Division, Colonel Usman Abdul on the issue yesterday, he said: “It is only Army headquarters, Abuja, that can speak on this.”
Ibrahim said, “After the re-jabbing, a list of posting was published where the names of 98 of us out of 4,000 soldiers were not included on the list, and we immediately brought the omission of our names to the notice of HQ NATRAC, and our names were compiled and forwarded to the Army Headquarters for inclusion in the posting.
“Hours later, the same day, nine of the female soldiers on the same 98 men list of omission with serial number 83-91 were singled out, posted to units and given N10,000 each in our presence, whereas we the remaining 89 male soldiers were neglected in Kontagora.
“We further complained and the HQ NATRAC Commander, Brig. Gen. T.J Dauke told us to write down our particulars and phone numbers and go back to our villages, that we were going to be called upon, with no stipulation to specific date.”