The military confirmed that some soldiers had indeed overstayed.
Some Nigerian soldiers deployed to Yobe State as part of the Joint Task Force to check insurgency have complained of abandonment and accused the military authorities of keeping them in the war front beyond their approved stay.
Many of the soldiers had been deployed several months before President Goodluck Jonathan declared a State of Emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States in May.
The soldiers said military authorities are keeping them in the troubled state beyond the approved three months which is causing “lack of motivation and low morale” among the soldiers.
“Apart from the police that adhere to the rule of rotating troops every three months, all military personnel in the Yobe JTF are presently on their eighth months now, and yet no one is talking about our rotation,” said a soldier who has been in Yobe since last year.
The soldier, like others, sought anonymity for fear of victimization.
Another soldier linked the killing of some soldiers by the Boko Haram to the low morale caused by the ‘unexplained excessive stay,” in the state. He said the soldiers never expected that they would serve beyond the approved three months.
Nigerian military authorities confirmed that some of the soldiers had indeed stayed beyond the three months they were meant to, but said the reasons were explained to the soldiers.
“Originally, the troops were meant to stay for three months, that was the agreement that took them there,” said Chris Olukolade, the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters.
“Along the line, their stay had to be extended. And when it was extended, it means that there has to be a new procedure which will also make up for their needs while in that mission.”
“Besides the authority that extended their stay there has to make the necessary political contact to formalize it, that is what is going on and has been responsible for their overstay,” he added.
Mr. Olukolade claimed the soldiers have been briefed about the extension.
“This has also been explained to our soldiers, we don’t expect our soldiers not to understand this because their commander has made this very clear them. If they now choose to affect their morale then using the media to address issues that are formal, then I don’t think it is proper. And I don’t think any medium should be established for that purpose,” he said.
The military spokesman said relevant authorities are “tidying up the necessary political issues that would take care of their (soldiers) extension and involves also the processing of whatever entitlement is theirs.
“These soldiers are aware of these, as it has all been duly explained to them by their commanders and cannot be attributed to lapse or lack of care for soldiers.”
Since the emergency declaration by the president, more troops have been deployed by the Nigerian military to the three affected states and the military said it has destroyed several cells of the insurgents in the states.