A former military governor of Kaduna State, Abubakar Umar, on Wednesday condemned the series of mutiny carried out by Nigerian soldiers.
Mr. Umar, a retired colonel, in a statement said there is a need to address the trend of unprofessionalism in the military. He blamed the spate of mutiny on dubious methods of recruitment.
“There is the need to stem this tide by addressing the causal factors of this unprofessional conduct. And these factors range from: one, the dubious recruitment method,” Mr. Umar said.
Mr. Umar listed poor training, inadequate and substandard equipment and lack of motivation as reasons for mutiny. He said it is wrong for soldiers to do jobs meant for the police, describing it as “civilianisation”.
“For example, soldiers being deployed on purely police duty e.g. checkpoints at which they are seen soliciting and receiving bribe, such soldiers cannot be expected to fight in a war,” he said.
He noted that many soldiers are currently deployed as aides and guards to individuals not entitled to such services. This, he said, must be addressed to stop the frequent revolt by soldiers.
Nigeria has witnessed a string of revolts lately, by soldiers deployed to fight the extremist Boko Haram in Borno State.
On May 14, some soldiers deployed to 7 Division of the Nigerian army in Maiduguri opened fire on the utility vehicle of their General Officer Commanding, GOC, Ahmadu Mohammed.
The soldiers were protesting the murder of 12 of their colleagues in a Boko Haram ambush.
They accused their superiors of deliberately putting them in harm’s way. 18 soldiers were subsequently court martialed for involvement in the mutiny.
Also, on August 9, wives and children of some soldiers at Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri protested the deployment of their husbands and fathers to Gwoza in Borno State, a town were terrorists had hoisted their flag.
The women blocked the gates of the barracks preventing the soldiers’ departure.
They said the Nigerian military was providing insufficient and archaic weapons for the soldiers to fight terrorists who had sophisticated and adequate weapons.
Soldiers who speak under anonymity say they are sent on missions without adequate weapon and lack of morale.
The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, has constantly denied the claim, saying no soldier could be sent on a mission without all the necessary weapons.
The DHQ accused the soldier of granting a faceless interview to the BBC and described him as an imposter.