EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian military to court-martial over 100 soldiers for cowardice

Nigeria Army

The Nigerian military is in the process of constituting a trial panel to try over 100 soldiers said to have exhibited “acts of cowardice” and “disobeyed deployment directives” in Maiduguri on Saturday, reliable military insiders have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The soldiers were among several hundred troops being deployed from the army’s 7th Division in Maiduguri to locations in Damboa and Gwoza for major operations planned to significantly rout the extremist Boko Haram sect from the areas.

“But as we were about to depart, some of the soldiers began to behave funny,” a witness said. “They were acting in ways that were delaying the movement. This was a movement that had been timed and we had to arrive locations at a time that should coincide with other operational arrangements. And then these guys were slowing us down.”

The witness said at a point, the commander of the troop became fed up with the antics of the “lazy soldiers” and he immediately ordered that they be disarmed, stripped of their uniforms and dropped from the operation.

The rest of the detachment then continued the journey, our sources said.

Other witnesses corroborated these disclosures.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, [an Air Marshall] the Chief of Army Staff,  Kenneth Minimah [a Lieutenant General], as well as other service chiefs have been briefed on the development.

The military chiefs, insiders say, have since ordered the arrest, interrogation and court-martial of the erring soldiers, some of whom are said to have gone into hiding.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, said he was yet to be briefed on the matter.

He however said, “Military personnel should be reminded that persons subject to military law risks death if found liable for refusing or inciting failure to perform military duties against the enemy in the course of the ongoing military operation.”

Mr. Olukolade said any soldier or officer who fails to perform military duties or deserts his duty post risks dire consequences.

“The military is a disciplined organization and we do not have room for indiscretions. Anyone who disobeys deployment directive or deserts his duty posts would be made to face due justice.

“Indeed such deserters would be considered to have done evil similar to what terrorists are doing against the nation’s security. Act of cowardice and related indiscipline will not be condoned in the Nigerian armed forces.

“While efforts are ongoing to improve on the available stock of weapons and equipment, no soldier or officer has been assigned to any duty without being duly armed.

“Any soldier who subscribes to the excuse being peddled by some indiscipline ones would have himself to blame.

“Soldiers are therefore warned that anyone who allows himself to be misled by enemies of the nation who have been trying to incite mutiny by various methods would face appropriate legal actions without any form of sentiment.”

Mr. Olukolade urged the Nigerian media and Nigerians in general not to celebrate incidences of indiscipline within the nation’s security services, saying the security of all citizens depend significantly on the stability and discipline of the agencies.

The Nigerian Army had in early July began the court–martialling of another 18 soldiers involved in an alleged mutiny in May, in which revolting troops opened fire at a car carrying the commanding general of the army’s 7 Division in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Military sources had told PREMIUM TIMES at the time that the General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the newly-created 7 Division, Ahmadu Mohammed, a Major General, was targeted by soldiers who blamed him for the deaths of their colleagues.

The attack in Maimalari cantonment, on May 14, angered the Nigerian military at a time the force came under international spotlight over the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Chibok by the extremist Boko Haram sect.


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  • Island man

    A lot is wrong with our Nigerian military as an institution that makes soldiers to be acting this way, God help us in Nigeria.

    • Usman, A.

      Let us all remember that in anything we do, we need to be well prepared to have the confidence that we can overcome the opponent, be it war, sports etc. The military has been confessing that B.H has superior fire power each them they got engaged. Why is the government not looking into their confession with a view to provide sophisticated weapons/machinery to make them feel superior. Amazingly, does Nigeria as a country do not have better arms than B.H a group? I can never believe that? Then, i strongly believe that our men/women at the front of the war against B.H were not given adequate equipment to face our common enemy.

      • eobrat

        Wrong. No time has the military told you that they have inferior weapons when they confront the enemy. You believe propaganda being put in the social media by enemies of Nigeria, na u sabi. The fact is what a lot of commentators have said already. Many of the soldiers join the force as a means of employment not because they are ready to die for their country. And so when the time has now come to do what they were recruited for, they are chickening out. It has nothing to do with pay or equipment. Those are lame excuses. By the way, the Nigerian Army is not a conscription army. So if they truly feel they don’t have the equipment to fight, what stops them from putting in their papers and resigning? But they won’t. These are the same people some of which came into the army through the back door using Senator this or that, some even bribe their way and now, they don’t want to do what they have been trained for with tax payers money. It’s a lie. They must go to the war front or be court marshaled.

  • Ashibogu

    They were behaving in a Tininitanana manner. Dem dey fear! Who wan die? Dem join Army no be say dem like the job. Rather, na becos work no dey. Dis one na category 5 Wahala. Na only God go help us. But, wait a minute, how did we get here? Can someone please help me?

    • Efe1

      Lack of proper training, indoctrination and corruption.

      • 2015 president

        God bless u

  • Ayo Yussuff

    Dem think say soldier job naa only to flog civilian and ecort oga wife to market…Mtcheww..

  • 2015 president

    Lack of inspiring leadership both at the civilian level and military

  • redeem

    There is an urgent need for the federal government to bring in reservist–who are experienced—————recall some of our retired soldiers————–who have seen wars b4—this is not the first time such is happening—–Nigerian soldiers were said to have shot—themselves in the hand to avoid going to the war front—–the use of drones to attack boko haram areas is also advised———————soldiers must also be motivated—————–when they know nothing will be done to their families when they die–on active duty————-the entire world is showing soldiers from Cameroon looking for boko haram fighters————————-again we still have thousands of soldiers–roaming about in the south—they should be drafted to the war front–the troop léevel is still very small–20,000 is not enough—-

    • Psalm 35

      Fah fah fah fowl …. does Nigeria have reservists ?

      • Checkmate

        My friend, that’s redeem for you, an ignorant PDPigs cyber thug.

    • Ahmad

      what is wrong today, that you have forgotten to heap blame on the Hausa/Fulani Muslims? Abi you no shak today?

      • Easy

        I think he is off today. You know the guy is always drunk.

  • Sir Law

    It’s unheard of that some group of soldiers will not want to go to war when they are needed most. They think they were recruited only to torment civilians and disgrace the Nigerian police. This is the time to show case their military might and they are running away. What a shame!!!. They should be court martialled for bringing disgrace to Nigerian police.

  • True Nigerian

    Well, its easy’to simply say that these soldiers are cowards. But here is the poignant question: If I were a soldier in today’s Nigeria, would I want to die in defence of such a horrendous state of callousness, corruption and moral decay? If I have a loved one in the army, would I encourage him to die trying to preserve a callous country like Nigeria for the benefits of the same leaders who have ruined her and are continuing to pillage of its people, including the soldiers? The honest answer to both questions is a capital “NO”.

    Nigeria’s current state is so abysmal and horrendously uncaring to a point that no person should die trying to keep the same state of existence for the benefit of its vicious cycle of leaders. Sorry for anyone who is going to fight to sustain the current Nigeria and its state of affairs. You die, then your family begins to suffer. And whilst you are in your grave, your suffering family would be hearing and seeing daily reports of how Alison Madueke is riding on jet with 10 billion in addition to series indictments for the mindless robbery by her just as she is getting defended by a President that should be fighting for a better Nigeria. Whilst your bereaved wife and poor children are suffering, then your family are told again that Jonathan is eating with 1 billion, Abacha’s criminal charges are being withdrawn just as Jonathan says “I don’t give damn” in response to calls to declare his assets. Amidst all of that, chances are 80% (if not 100%) that your allowances and benefits as a deceased soldier would not be paid to your bereaved family and your children will have some of the most horrible living standard on earth in a country that earns more than $100b per annum but has no social security of any kind.

    I honestly don’t think that Nigeria is worth the life of any of its soldiers except those cowardly soldiers that attack civilians on the streets of Nigeria. As a soldier, it would make more sense to die trying to effect a total overhaul of the horrendous culture of leadership and corruption in Nigeria.

    • zenny2012

      These guys were not conscripted into the army. They joined voluntarily. The soldier knows he will face an enemy and face bullets at any time. problem is some people joined the army thinking it’s all fun and games, also for the prestige that comes with it. Real men join the army for the noble objective it stands for; protection of the territorial integrity, both internal and external, of their country and it’s citizens. it is the most noble profession, reserved for the brave. Cowardice is looking for excuses when the time to face the enemy comes. What will happen to the civilized world if soldiers are scared to fight, we will be destroyed the satan’s soldiers like Bokoharam

      • True Nigerian

        You are making sense. But, again, the point is that the present day Nigeria is a country that has become to callous that it does not deserve the life of its soldiers. That is the point. As you rightly said, these soldiers were not conscripted into the army. But that is not to say that they were entering the army with the expectation that Nigeria would be so callous to them. Which other country in the world would send soldiers out with very few bullets against an enemy that is extravantly armed enough to even shoot hundreds of bullets into the empty air just to announce their presence?

        I don’t disagree with you on any of the points you raised. But the difference between our positions is that you are talking concepts and I am talking human reality. Your points are theoretically impeccable, but they don’t go that far in pragmatism. For instance, everyone knows that soldiers are there to defend their country even if it means dying in that process. But everyone also knows that before you send a soldier to harm’s way, you must equip him and arm him to the teeth. You must give him every comparative advantage that he needs against the enemy. And you must not send a soldier to war whilst keeping him hungry, depriving him, his colleagues and family what should be due to them.

        History is replete with moments when soldiers felt that their commitment to die for their country should be rethought either because those in charge of their country are simply using its soldiers to further their narrow ends against the common good of the same country.

        As you probably know, there were many German soldiers who plotted to kill Hitler in order to stop the war. Didn’t they sign up to die for Germany?

        Soldiers who returned from Vietnam made it a personal goal to tell Americans why their colleagues and young men should not be dying in Vietnam.

        What is your view about the Libyan pilots who flew their jet bombers out of Libya instead of carrying out their bombing missions as ordered by Gaddafi’s government? We can argue that the pilots were sent on an immoral mission to destroy the Libyan people. But the point here is that a common denomination between those Libyan soldiers and Nigerian soldiers is that the context behind the mission for which they are needed is very damaging to their morale.

        The truth is that the Nigerian state and its leadership are currently as dangerous and as deadly as boko haram. The only difference is that whilst boko haram kills and maims very loudly, Nigerian state and its leadership are killing Nigerians silently and quietly. But if the casualty figures on the victims of both destructive forces are disclosed, the numbers will confound you.

        Theoretically, it is easy to say that soldiers go into their careers knowing that it could mean death for them. But let’s be honest – in real life, no soldier wants to die when his commanders have shared the money that should be used to arm him against the enemy and the money that should be used to look after him. In the context of a country that withholds the allowances and compensations that should be paid to its dead soldiers, no soldier would have enough morale to die for such a state. That is pragmatism.

        NGOs, Civil rights groups, the human rights commission, have all been calling for a probe of the expenditure of military budgets over the last 10 years. Did you hear any response from the army on that? Have you heard even a cough from the same federal government that is asking for an approval of $1b loan to fight boko haram? Apparently, the government is so concerned that it wants to borrow. Yet, somehow, that passion and concern about funding the army does not extend to the obvious need to find what happened to the huge money ($5b per annum) that was already dished out to the army over the last few years. How does that sound to you? What do you make of that? Do you think the soldiers are not reading between the lines? Or you think the soldiers are just robots? They are humans and they can see and read between the lines.

      • M Ajonye

        A lot of our military men did not join because it’s “fun and games or “for noble objective” but to avoid the hardship that comes with unemployment in Nigeria. They never anticipated civil war or insurgency, so my friend save your poem and face the reality of corruption and insubordination that destroy and still destroying the very foundation of our defense.

  • Jonathan Daniel Abimiku

    It is easy to read and just comment base on your understanding or dearth of information. The soldiers in question are the gallant men of 195 battalion in Agenebode who lost their commanding officer 3 months ago simply because they ran out of ammunition in a battle with a fully kitted, well armed and better motivated boko haram fighters. In the history of the fight against boko haram in north-east, this troop is responsible for some of the successes and victory the Nigerian army had recorded in north-east.

    Would you rather have your brother go to battle with limited ammunition, not too sophisticated whatever bla bla bla… you die and the very callous military authority will stop your salary immediately and chase your family out of the barracks.

    The Nigerian soldier will fight to defend the territorial integrity of this nation if the government is willing and ready to provide for him or her to perform said duty. THE TRUTH BE TOLD

  • Mekasyno

    Vabous & a vain-glorious article. Typical yoruba bigot. Dat this so cald journalist could write such a prejudiced piece & still walk abt freely is only a testament to jonathan’s democratic tenet & humility. Little wonder every dick & harry suddenly woke-up after jonathan became president. What manner of change re these clowns talking abt? Change from pure democratic tenets as bn enjoyd by dis ingrate of a journalist; to old brutal dictatorship by a murderer, coup plotter as personified in #MarchDownBuhari??
    #UselessChange

    • prince

      You are the one that is prejudiced and deluded. Remove sentiments from you argument, is this how our country should be. At will Nigerians should be able to change their government through the ballots. It’s just normal. What has GEJ done to deserve our votes, I will rather try a new man that the one who in the last 16 years has benefited more than any Nigeria in this democracy and yet did nothing to better our lives in various part of the country. The corruption is alarming, you may not know but some of us we know the rate of corruption in the country. My friend for once let us be objective when we support leaders. If my brother is voted for as Nigerian president and he fails to perform, I will canvass for his being voted out.

    • True Nigerian

      Well, you come across as the bigot here. Only ethnic bigots criticise a view on the basis of the ethnic origin of the person who expressed that view.

      And just in case it matters to you, I am Igbo. You are probably Igbo too. So go ahead and call me “a typical Igbo bigot”. Maybe in that way, you will see the sheer stoopidity of what called the writer of the article.

      You think the freedom of the press or the freedom of expression is a credit to Jonathan rather than a credit to the Constitution. For narrow-minded fellows with tiny imaginations like yours, we owe Jonathan a gratitude for rights that were in existence under laws that precede his presidency. It says the level of your reasoning! Can you see how poor your intellect is?

    • Preco01

      You and your generation will benefit from good government soon and not live off pittance from your internet rat job

    • Kitunde

      Er…….Firstly, the writer lives in a ‘free country’ so she ‘will walk about freely’ as she has not committed any crime! You do not even understand what freedom is. So from the onset you are stuck.Now when you talk about prejudice, i will ask you, what section of the opinion of the writer is unfair or unreasonable? I think you should read the article again and if you can read other articles of the writer, she is honest and fearless,definitely not a bigot

  • otapete

    Oju a ti owo.

  • In ur useless dream pussy cat

    • Preco01

      Wallow in self pity and denigration, you scumbag!

      • Castrated he goat with a brain of a fish,Ur problem is bipolar & u are demented just like mumuhari.

        • donkesson

          u keep supportin dat jona knowing fullin well dat he is shame to this nation

  • Preco01

    Bless you. Succinctly put, change has come to Nigeria #March4Buhari

  • New Nigerian

    well said…for those who have not received the memo. The sins of iniquity of Jonathan is over flowing.

    Some humbling facts – that makes the famed train robbery of the century look like christmas present –

    Back of the envelope calculations puts it at about $200billion that have been stolen, shared or misappropriated in the past 4 years – through grand theft of oil, unmerited sale of oil, unauthorized subsidy payments, depletion of natural reserve, un-collected revenues through loopholes.

    One Aspect. President Jonathan have personally supervised the grand theft, through two contracts financed with tax payers money, since January 2012 (possibly fall of 2011) of 400,000 barrels of oil per day by those he hand-picked to safeguard the supply lines against theft. According to Soludo: “First, you (Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala) admit that ‘oil theft’ has reduced oil output from the average 2.3 – 2.4 million barrels per day to 1.95 mpd (meaning that at least 350,000 to 450,000 barrels per day are being ‘stolen’). On the average of 400,000 per day and the oil prices over the past four years, it comes to about $60bn ‘stolen’ in just four years.

    – This is done through two 2 contracts that Jonathan signed to rebel leaders from his tribe.

    These are the 2 contracts by the Jonathan administration that is a major feed to the monster bedevilling Nigeria and turning it into a failed state, and a personal estate of King Jonathan, it was fall 2011 & 2012 time frame – widely reported by Wall Street Journal and major newspapers in Nigeria – just google it – I like the composition in the piece titled, Help, This Nigerian State Is Failing By Ayobami Oyalowo:

    ”In August, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) broke some disturbing news about Nigeria. It was reported that some ex-militants in the Niger Delta had been paid about N6.32billion within the past one year by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Yes, for the ‘noble’ service of providing security against vandals for the Corporation’s oil pipeline network. Imagine! The breakdown, as outlined by WSJ, is this:

    Chief Government Ekpumopolo (alias Tompolo), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, ‘General’ Ebikabowei Victor Ben (Boyloaf) and ‘General’ Ateke Tom were respectively paid N5.1 billion, N1.44 billion, N608 million and N608 million yearly by the state-owned NNPC, as ‘protection money’ to guard the pipelines they once attacked.

    As if that was not enough an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians, earlier in the year the Federal Government awarded a contract worth $103.4million (over N15billion) to the Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL) – a firm widely believed to be owned by Tompolo to supply 20 vessels for the use of the nation’s military authorities to secure the waterways. Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, had last year sent a memo titled, “Award of Contract for the Strategic Concessioning Partnership with NIMASA to Provide Platforms for Tracking Ships and Cargoes, Enforce Regulatory Compliance and Surveillance Of The Entire Nigerian Maritime Domain,” to President Goodluck Jonathan.

    In considering the memo, President Goodluck Jonathan and Akpobolokemi chose GWVSL as the preferred company for the 10-year concession agreement, renewable for two terms of five years each. Jonathan, in a memo dated 9th November, 2011, with reference number PRES/99/MT/61, approved Akpobolokemi’s memo, which the Federal Executive Council rubber-stamped on 5th January, 2012. According to Akpobolokemi, GWVSL “will provide platforms for effective policing of Nigeria’s maritime domain and ensure compliance with international maritime conventions on vessels and ships voyaging the country’s waters”. NIMASA maintains that the concessionaire would help the Federal Government to enforce the sabotage law and collect levies on its behalf. This, in a country that still maintains a statutory Naval force, and without a track record for GWVSL?

    From the above, the current occupant of the presidential villa showed where his loyalty lies…rather than train the military, he equipped criminals and vandals who had taken up arms against the state. No wonder so much arms and ammunition have found their way into Nigeria and our country has now become one gigantic human abattoir where someone is killed on an average of an hour, daily. Between January to May 2014 it has been estimated that over 1,500 people have been mindlessly cut down by terrorists and blood thirsty killers.

  • ARIKYA

    I concur with the content and in addition is a prayer to the Almighty God to expose, bring to shame and destroy all those that participated/participating in the destruction of our dear nation and its citizens.

  • truth is bitter

    This is a master piece.