The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the resignation of 365 soldiers from the Nigerian Army.
This resolution was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion of Matters of Urgent Public Importance by the Chief Whip of the house, Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno), at the plenary on Tuesday.
PREMIUM TIMES had on Saturday reported that 380 soldiers had exited the Nigerian Army for loss of interest. Although the army denied the report, the newspaper reasserted it.
Moving the motion at the House on Tuesday, Mr Monguno said that the Nigerian Army which was founded in 1960 is the largest component of the Nigerian armed forces.
He said that the Nigerian Army has a staff strength of about 200,000 soldiers saddled with the responsibility of taking charge of land warfare operations as well as protect and defend the territorial integrity of the nation.
The lawmaker said that on June 22, a lance corporal in the Nigerian Army, Martin Idakpeni, in a video on social media condemned the attitude of the Chief of Army Staff towards the attacks and killings of innocent Nigerians and soldiers.
He said that the officer also frowned at the untold hardship soldier’s face while conducting combat operations.
According to the lawmaker, on several occasions, the Nigerian soldiers have disobeyed orders from superior officers in protest of poor welfare arrangements and alleged embezzlement of allowances due them by their superiors.
Mr Monguno said that there had been cases of mutiny resulting in sporadic shooting and attempted lynching of senior officers by junior officers.
“Recently, Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, commander of operation Lahya Dole, Nigeria‘s Counter-Terrorism headquarters, was removed for exposing inferior military wares and poor equipment of troops while briefing the chief of army staff from combat zone after successfully repelling an attack from Boko haram insurgents.
“Concerned that not too long ago, the general officer commanding 7 division of the Nigeria Army in Maimalari, Major General Victor Ezegwu, escaped being lynched by rampaging soldiers for leaving them with neither food or water while fighting in the northeastern part of the country for two days.
“On July 3, 2020, 356 soldier which is a battalion, serving in the northeast and other theatres of operations wrote to the chief of army staff asking for voluntary retirement from the force and citing loss of interest as reasons for their retirement,” he said.
The legislator said that military sources have attributed these massive resignations to loss of morale, unimproved allowances, mass casualties in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists.
Mr Monguno said that the sources blamed it on lack of intelligence apparatus and fighting equipment’s as well as poor welfare packages for soldiers and their families by the army authorities.
He said rather than addressing the challenges, the Chief of Army staff via a 17-page circular and signed by Brig. -Gen. T.E Gagariga, graciously approved the voluntary retirement of a battalion of aggrieved soldiers in one fell swoop.
He said if the situation is not brought under control by nipping the influx of able ex-army officers into the society without job security, it may become a serious security threat.
According to him, “it is an impending military mutiny that may imperil our democracy, hence the need to urgently tackle this impending menace.”
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the Committee on Army to investigate the allegations and report back in one week for further legislative actions.
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