At least 44 soldiers of the Nigerian army are currently being held and languishing in an underground cell in Jos, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
An army source told this newspaper that the soldiers were part of those stationed in Mubi, Adamawa State, when the town was over run and captured by Boko Haram insurgents last October.
According to reports, soldiers in the town failed to engage the attacking terrorists and fled their barracks leaving the town defenceless.
Our source told us that the 44 soldiers that include five staff Sergeants, two Sergeants, five Corporals, 18 Lance Corporals, and 14 Privates, were dislodged by the terrorists on October 28, 2014. They were then arrested and detained for 10 days before being moved to an underground detention cell in Jos where they have since been.
Their charges are not known yet and the army is yet to arraign them for any offence.
The affected soldiers are Staff Sergeants – Ali Bako, Daramola Segun, Zakariya jibrin, Abdulrazaq Ahmed, and Abdulhamid Musa; Sergeants – Damiel Sunday, Ajayi Danladi; Corporals – Elijah Bisuakefe, Bulus Andrew, Adamu Ladan, Ponmark jatau, and Kurmi Rumu; Lance Corporal – Chilaka Pius, Kuyoro Joseph, Lawal Asheik, Friday Jacob, Oyinah Ifubaraboye, Abubakar Haruna, Abbas Iliyasu, Clement Ebong, Odesanya Olatunji, Gilbert Paul, Abdullahi Kamal, Olayinka Aremu, Tumba Ignatius, Yakubu Kyari, Danjuma Kadiri, Emmanuel James, Musa Isah, and Isah Mohammed; Privates – Tijani Adamu, Ibrahim Aliyu, Suleiman Bali, Musa Abu, Peter Saiynan, Williams Ojeje, Mohammed Yakubu, Adebayo Damilola, Joseph Sampson, Adagunodo Oluwafemi, Amos bala, Familola Johnson, Jesse Nunaya, and Ekpong Orem.
The detention of the soldiers seems to be in line with moves by the military to curtail what it described as a wave of indiscipline and cowardice among soldiers as it attempts to rev up its campaign against Boko Haram insurgents who have captured large swath of towns and village in their attempt to form an Islamic caliphate.
In December, 54 soldiers were sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit mutiny and mutiny. The Army said the soldiers disobeyed a direct order from their superior officers to take part in an operation. The soldiers, however, said they only asked for support equipment before embarking on the operation.
Twelve other soldiers had been previously sentenced to death by firing squad for shooting at a car conveying their commanding officer, Maj-Gen. Ahmed Mohammed.
The soldiers revolted after some of their colleagues were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram extremists, an attack they blamed on their superior officer.
Also in December, 200 soldiers were sacked after an overnight trial. They had been held in detention for three months and denied communication to their families or legal representation.
However, many of the soldiers that have been court-martialled and sentenced said they lacked the necessary support equipment to confront an insurgent group that has increasingly showed that it is better armed than army.
The Spokesperson of the army, Olajide Olaleye, a Brigadier General did not return calls made to his mobile number neither has he replied text messages requesting for the army’s response.