total of 25 soldiers are exiting the Nigerian Army despite the worsening security challenges the military is currently combating in some parts of the country, SaharaReporters has gathered.
In the list exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, the soldiers are all from the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps (NAAC) and belong to junior cadres. Soldiers in junior cadres are the ones mostly Sen to the front.
NAAC came into being on 21 April 1958 from the only existing artillery battery then in the NACA. It is one of the “teeth arms” of the Nigerian Army.
The department provides close combat support to the infantry. It has various types of units equipped with different categories of vehicles and armaments for the performance of their peculiar roles.
These units include Recce Battalions, Tank Battalions, Light Tank Battalions and the Demonstration Battalion.
“More soldiers are resigning voluntarily due to the ill treatment by superiors and corruption in Nigeria Army. Imagine the recent list, they are all from the armoured corps, 25 people trained for years on how to operate different war vehicles, armoured tanks are leaving just like that, so unfortunate,” a soldier told SaharaReporters on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the list of exiting soldiers did not distinguish between those embarking on voluntary retirement and those leaving the army on medical grounds.
However, none of them has attained retirement age or the mandatory years of service.
The Chief of Army Staff has since approved their formal disengagement.
The approval of their voluntary disengagement dated July 27, 2023, was signed by Colonel Y Datikum.
According to the approval, the 25 soldiers are to submit all military properties in their possession.
“Consequently, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at the Headquarters, Garrison, with their unit service documents for documentation,” the internal signal signed by Datikum read.
“All forms of military-controlled items, arms, ammunition, and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certify that they are properly de-kitted. Please acknowledge.”
There have been allegations of corruption in the Nigerian Army which some of the soldiers have blamed on the issue – soldiers overstaying in the Northeast.
According to some soldiers, the army is the epitome of deep-seated corruption. They noted that corruption is affecting the prosecution of the anti-terrorism war in Northeast Nigeria.
In the past, army personnel deployed for counter-insurgency operations had lamented that those who were to relieve them many months after they were asked to leave the battlefield refused to resume.
The soldiers complained that they were being forced to confront Boko Haram militants, adding that their low morale and lack of willingness to continue to fight made it possible for terrorists to dislodge some military camps recently.
They complained of abandonment and accused the military authorities of keeping them on the front beyond their approved period of stay.
In the last 12 months, over 1,000 soldiers in Northeast Nigeria and other theatres of operation have resigned from the Nigerian Army.
Some of the affected soldiers who spoke to SaharaReporters had cited loss of interest, intimidation by superiors, corruption in the army, and low morale as their reasons for their actions.
In 2022, some army personnel also accused former President Muhammadu Buhari of failing to check corruption and financial mismanagement among some top military officers while soldiers continue to cry on a daily basis.
The soldiers in an open letter to the President accused top army officers of corruption and extortion.
They said despite their numerous complaints, nobody was saying anything about their unpaid allowances by the military finance corps.
Recently, the Nigerian Army approved an upward review of Ration Cash Allowance to soldiers, taking it from N1,000 to N1,200.
The RCA takes care of the feeding of Nigerian military personnel in lieu of “central feeding”.
In a signal exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, the army had said the move was a sequel to the recent removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government which had caused an increment in prices of goods and services across the country.
The signal was dated July 28 and signed by E.E. Emekah, a Major General on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff.
“Sequel to the recent removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government of Nigeria, with its attendant rise in the prices of goods and services across the country, the COAS has graciously approved upward review of Ration Cash Allowance (RCA) for troops from One Thousand Naira (N1,000:00) to One Thousand Two Hundred Naira (N1,200.00) with effect from August 2023,” it had read.
“Relatedly, requisition for Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) are to be subsequently calculated as 30 litres of PMS/Vehicle/Day and 50 litres of AGO/Vehicle/Day.
“I am to respectfully add that you forward your sustenance requirements to this Headquarters not later than 15 of every month in line with the new rates for necessary action. Please acknowledge receipt.”