The Nigerian Army on Thursday denied media reports that soldiers deployed to fight insurgents in the northeast were angry about non-payment of their allowances.
In a statement signed by its acting director of media relations, Sani Usman, the Army blamed “mischievous media house” for the story and said all payments due to the troops in the northeast as well as those who participated in other missions abroad had been paid.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to some stories going round the media circles with the title “Disquiet in the war front as soldiers complain of unpaid allowance” alleging that there was problem in the Nigerian Army due to non-payment of allowances to some soldiers serving in the North East.
“In particular, they were alleging non-payment of outstanding peacekeeping operations allowance of troops that served in Guinea Bissau under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States and operation allowances to some troops in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, among others.
“The issues contained in such publications are not true nor correct. While some media treated the matter professionally, giving the military benefit of doubt and sought to know the truth, others mischievously went to town with the false story without recourse to ethics of the profession and bothering to find out from the military,” the statement said.
“The effort of the former is quite commendable and really appreciated, while that of the latter is quite unfortunate.”
Mr. Usman however said that non-payment of operational allowances to troops was a “minor internal military administrative matter” which had already been resolved.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to inform the public that the issue of non-payment of peacekeeping operations allowance is a minor internal military administrative matter which was treated and resolved accordingly and has no bearing on the fight against terrorism and insurgency as they mischievously alleged.
“It should be reiterated that the alleged non-payment of operations allowance among the returnee peacekeepers was due to administrative hitches which was solved to the point that all outstanding peacekeeping operations have been paid and the last batch payment was done last Tuesday.
“As regards to payment of operations allowances, it is borne out of deliberate mischief and failure to comply with the new measures aimed at ensuring probity and accountability in the Service. All officers and soldiers are now paid their operations allowance directly into their account.”
The Army attributed non-payment of some individuals’ allowance to a lack of compliance to directive and duplication of names.
“All those that did not receive theirs was due to non-compliance with the directive of giving correct account details or duplication of names due to recent postings.
“This has been explained to all those affected and efforts were on to rectify same shortly.
“We wish to state further that those soldiers involved or complaint to the media are very few compared to the soldiers in the operation area who are working assiduously to finally clear the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists.
“Majority of our troops have been receiving their allowances regularly. The very few undisciplined ones cannot be used to distract us, neither should they be used as yardstick to measure troops’ general wellbeing and performance,” Mr. Usman said.