Reps query resignation of soldiers

The House of Representatives is worried over the seeming discontent in the military and the resignation of 365 personnel of the Nigerian Army.

The House noted that it has become imperative to probe the voluntary resignation in order to arrest the drift of unemployed soldiers into the society.

The lawmakers debated a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance sponsored by four principal officers of the House: Hon. Mohammed Monguno, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Toby Okechukwu and the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu. The House mandated its Committee on Army to conduct an investigation and report back for further legislative action in seven days.

The House queried the rationale behind the approval of the voluntary retirement of 365 soldiers, said to be the size of a battalion, instead of probing issues connected to it.

It expressed worry over the palpable drift currently ravaging the army and warned that if it is not brought under checks and control, by nipping the influx of able ex-army officers into the society without job security, it may become a serious security threat and an impending military mutiny that may imperil the country’s democracy.

Monguno noted that as representatives of the people, they will not fold their hands and allow democracy to be endangered or not find solutions to the unhappiness of the country’s soldiers, especially those in the various combat and war zones in the country.

He linked the recent exposé by Lance Corporal Martins Idakpein to the mass resignation.

“On June 22, a lance corporal in the Nigerian Army, Martins Idakpein made an online video where he condemned the attitude of the service chiefs towards the attacks and killing of Nigerians and soldiers, as well as the untold hardship that soldiers face while conducting combat operations, ” Monguno stated.

He also highlighted the series of protests by military personnel due to poor welfare and poor working conditions.

“On several occasions, soldiers have disobeyed orders from superior officers in protest against poor welfare arrangements and alleged embezzlement of allowances due them by their superiors, and there have been cases of mutiny and sporadic shooting and attempted shooting of superior officers.

“Recently, Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi, the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, was removed for complaining about inferior military wares while briefing the chief of army staff, ” he said.

He revealed that having disgruntled retired soldiers without employment opportunity is dangerous.

“On July 3, 366 solders which is a battalion serving in the North-East and other theaters of operation wrote to the COAS, asking for voluntary retirement from the army, citing loss of interest.

“The House is further disturbed that instead of the army authorities to see this action as indicative of a general discontentment within its fold and look for possible ways in solving this impending crisis that will either diminish the strength of our army, the Chief of Army Staff via a 17-page circular and signed by Brigadier-General T.E Gagariga graciously approved the voluntary retirement of a battalion of aggrieved soldiers in one swoop,” Monguno, who led debate on the general principles of the motion, queried.



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