Nigerians on social media have expressed their anger against the Nigerian Army after a PREMIUM TIMES’ report exposed how families of soldiers killed in battles suffer amidst official neglect.
The report captured the trauma and suffering widows and children of fallen soldiers face in the aftermath of the loss of their breadwinners.
For over 10 years, Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram. At least 47,000 people have been killed in the Boko Haram war, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Also, over 2 million have been displaced.
PREMIUM TIMES understands that the often neglected statistics is the estimated 10,000 plus soldiers who have died in the war. Yet, families of the soldiers are denied their entitlement years after completing the processes for guidelines on administration of military pensions for personnel of the armed forces of Nigeria.
Rather than get paid, the next of kins of the deceased military personnel are made to suffer traveling to military pension boards for years without any way forward. Hence, the families only survive on gifts from members of the community for the basic necessity of life.
Several enquiries to call the attention of military authorities to PREMIUM TIMES findings proved abortive as both the Defence Headquarters spokesperson,Onyema Nwachukwu, and army spokesperson, Sagir Musa, did not respond to calls and text messages.
Meanwhile, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, could not also speak on how long it takes for families of fallen soldiers to get their entitlement.
Nigerians are however, weighing in, calling on the Army to swiftly address this as it may weaken the strength of current officers combating insurgency. They also call for prosecution of any top officials found guilty of neglecting families of fallen soldiers.
These reactions were poured in from several social media platforms, especially Twitter, Facebook and PREMIUM TIMES‘ comment sections and this newspaper gathered some.
@FS_Yusuf_: I think government should have a special palliative for this group of people. This is time government need to show its appreciation to our fallen heroes.
I think government should have a special palliative for this group of people. This is time government need to show its appreciation to our fallen heroes.
— FS Yusuf, AMIIM (#TPACT) (@FS_Yusuf_) April 22, 2020
@taofeekbakarey: When soldiers are alive, they deprived them of the right ammunitions to fight, when they die, they deprive their families of gratuity.
@abiolaDNA: This is a great piece. Throughout my service, I stayed inside the 82 Div. Army Barracks in Enugu. These stories are right and mostly, underreported. It’s quite sad how soldiers who are at the frontline in the country are treated like a piece of shit.
@OlatunjiJaoliy: This is true, and it is high time the Nigerian Government @NGRPresident and @HQNigerianArmy focussed on the welfare of the soldiers.
— Olátúnji Totoola (@Olatunjialliy) April 22, 2020
@destayo67: Well done, I have a childhood friend who lost her husband to the war in the north east. She was left with 2 kids who are below 7 years and no support from the government.
Well done, I have a childhood friend who lost her husband to the war in the north east. She was left with 2 kids who are below 7 years and no support from the government.
— Ọ́mọ́ Ọ̀sún (@destayo67) April 22, 2020
@Idigwu1: Good for people working as soldiers for the zoo government.
Good for people working as soldiers for the zoo government.
— Idigwu (@Idigwu1) April 22, 2020
@mfclothingceo: Nigeria is not worth dying for. Despite being comfortable, millions of naira would have being given to the family of the late CoS and possibly a life salary to them
Nigeria is not worth dying for. Despite being comfortable, millions of naira would have being given to the family of the late CoS and possibly a life salary to them
— ABIOLA #ENDSARS (@mfclothingceo) April 22, 2020
@emymumales: 98% of our leaders are self-centred.
98% of our leaders are self-centred.
— #EricaElites⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ We Smile & Shine. (@emymumalex) April 22, 2020
@TeeJay: Some things seriously needs to be done about that and that is also one of the problems with our country. Neglecting the lives or comfort of those fighting for us
@Emmyzone4life: Dats d problem with Nigeria. D Labours of heroes past is only applicable to d elite
Dats d problem with Nigeria. D Labours of heroes past is only applicable to d elite
— Emmanuel Patrick Iwe CJ (@Emmyzone4life) April 22, 2020
Kayode Adesina: Not surprised. When I was growing up in Nigeria, my family was subjected to hardship after my father died in active service. It took 3yrs to receive his benefits. 1991 to 1994. It is very sad.
Ogbenetega Esemuede: There are so many of them out there. I think it’s right for people to start speaking against the negligence.
Happy Oriafo: Nigeria is not worthy dying for! My fellow compatriots stop joining Nigeria armed forces!
Raymond Ekedozie: All the government is interested in, is the welfare of the captured terrorists.
Peter Gizo: It is unfortunate, but that is the reality of deceased soldiers and police families. They live in helpless and hopeless situations, while the officers in the Military account and finance live in affluence.
Patrick Odiaka: The army will respond and say it’s fake news. Someone in that department is pocketing the money just like the pension funds. Now we know why these guys go AWOL. When you know if you give your life serving the country that your family will be dead too. Same thing goes with football, the international players don’t want to give their best because they will be abandoned by the government if they get injured. The higher ranks in the military are now millionaires.
Ayodeji David: A time will come when they will have to coerce people to join armed forces in Nigeria with these worst treatments meted on their staff – on duty and off duty.
Dapo Abu: I wish soldiers will realize that it’s very easy to thrash and forget any of them if they get wounded or fall and their families become “ bloody civilians” with no soldier covering them, if this thought stick to their head , let them solders start treating civilians with respect and correct an offending civilian with respect and dignity instead of treating civilians like animal for ( wearing a camouflage or making traffic offense or not creating them in a check point stop”.
Victor Ancho: I pity those who can’t quits upon all they face from their leaders set up,ambushes yet they decide to die.but gvt negligence.
Mac Senzy: This is very common amongst all securities agencies. The moment you are killed either by terrorists or criminals. Everything about your life will be short lived. Unprecedented poverty will descended on your immediate family. Nigeria securities job is a modern slavery. My candid advice is to established a for your wife or otherwise, she should learn a handwork and be self employed. The benefits will not be remitted on time likewise their salaries will be stopped with immediate effect. What a trauma for a man who put his life online.
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