In a report by TheCable, soldiers deployed to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east have said that their welfare has not been looked into.
This is coming from the soldiers after Lai Mohammed, minister of information said on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 that the soldiers were living in good condition.
Speaking on the probe on the issue of poor welfare of the soldiers, Lai had said:
“The summary of the findings is that there is no case of hunger, starvation or begging among the troops fighting in the North-east, and in particular in the Armed Forces Special Forces Battalion that was referenced.
“There is also no irregular/short payment of allowances, while claims of poor equipment, inadequate kitting and accommodation are found to be ill conceived and unfounded”.
However the report say soldiers across major barracks under Operation Lafiya Dole, described the minister’s statement as incorrect. According to a soldier:
“When did the presidency carry out a probe? How many of us did the probe committee members come to check his condition to conclude that we are living in good condition?
“You know Nigerian army is hiding those things. Don’t mind them, they are all looking for money. Till now, soldiers have not got their allowance and salary, and that is why soldiers don’t want to fight. Let me tell you the truth, what they promised soldiers to pay 90,000 naira but they are not paying. And if a soldier dies, after one week, they will freeze his account. The family will not be paid anything. Everybody is running away from the bush”.
Also another soldier in Mailmalari barracks, in Borno said the minister is not helping with the matter because they have all been waiting on the president to probe this issue. He said that:
“If anybody from the presidency came, we would have been the one to provide escort for them. Nobody came. We didn’t see anybody.
“The feeding is even worse. Soldiers in the bush now eat once in a day. When they wake, they don’t eat until 12 noon. And they won’t eat again till 12 noon the following day. Soldiers are using their personal funds to buy gas and pots from the market. The commanders are not ready to feed soldiers.
“They are pocketing the money. How can soldiers be on operational ground and be eating only beans? The situation is worse.
“I came back from the bush yesterday. Soldiers have refused to advance. They have run from the bush back to town. Even yesterday, there was an attack. They killed some soldiers while some were injured. It happened around Gudumbali side”.
The report also noted that another soldier in Jimtilu Barracks in Borno in his reaction to Lai statement said: “President Buhari should come down and see things himself”.
“Three months now, I’ve not seen my operational allowance. The president should get independent people to probe this matter”.
“Indeed, funds were released for our troops but they boys in the bush are being shortchanged”.