Angered by what he described as the inability of the military to provide the needed weapons and equipment to defeat the Boko Haram terror sect, and the recent ease at which insurgents were killing senior army officers, a top infantry commander has described the country’s service chiefs as “Nollywood actors”.
T.J. Abdallah, a lieutenant colonel, and the commanding officer (CO) of 151 battalion located at Banki Junction, Borno, is now in trouble with military authorities after making the remarks on a WhatsApp group operated by the 49 regular cadet class of the National Defence Academy (NDA).
A report of an investigation into the activities of the WhatsApp group, ordered by the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, described Mr Abdallah’s comments as “derogatory” and “seditious”.
The investigation was centred on the exchanges in the group between November 15 to November 17, 2016, soon after B.U. Umar, a lieutenant colonel, was ambushed and killed by the terrorists.
Mr. Abdallah “was very close friend” of late Mr. Umar, the report titled:“Interim Report on the Derogatory Comment Against the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Chief of Army Staff on Social Media by Lieutenant Colonel T.J Abdallah,” revealed.
Apparently angered by the killing of his friend, Mr. Abdallah took to the group to lament the failure of military authorities to supply needed weapons, ammunition, and equipment for the quick defeat of the insurgents.
Describing the service chiefs as “Nollywood actors”, Mr. Abdallah, the report claimed, lambasted them for their lack of initiative, stating that if they had challenges in equipping troops, they should simply surrender to Boko Haram and allow troops to return home.
The report further claimed that Mr. Abdallah urged the service chiefs to inform President Muhammadu Buhari that they were unable to execute the anti-insurgency war any longer.
There have been increased disquiet among troops fighting Boko Haram over poor feeding, inadequate equipment, and basic supplies such as provision of drinking water.
In December 2016, soldiers of the 21 Brigade of the Nigerian Army revolted over poor welfare, shooting in the air and threatening to kill any officer who tried to stop them.
The officer, according to the report, lambasted the Nigerian government for failing to properly arm troops and wondered how soldiers were supposed to fight and conquer Boko Haram, who he claimed have superior fire power.
Mr Abdullah was further quoted to have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “dragging the war not to finish”.
The report further claimed that Mr. Abdallah accused the government of having given money to Boko Haram to buy weapons to use against troops while claiming there was no money to buy ammunition for troops.
This, he claimed was evident in the “metamorphosis” of Boko Haram militia, the report alleged.
The report also blamed Mr. Abdallah for spreading “conspiracy theories” about the killing of senior officers by Boko Haram.
Mr. Abadallah was accused of saying there was a mole within the military passing information to the insurgents.
He was also alleged to have supported a comment by another member of the group that there was no way a senior officer could easily be killed in battle without the foreknowledge of the military hierarchy.
He was further alleged to have said that as a commanding officer his enemy was not Boko Haram but the Federal Government and the army headquarters.
Army authorities suggested in the report that the claims by the officer were false and unprofessional.
He has therefore been relieved of his command and is undergoing disciplinary procedures, those familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES.