EIGHTY NINE, 89, soldiers denied reinstatement, despite a Presidential directive and a favourable Federal High Court decision, are yet to be re-absorbed and re-assigned by Nigerian Army several months after.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday recalls that they were dismissed in the heat of Boko Haram attack in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, under the Nigerian Army Operation Zaman Lafiya and have been denied reinstatement out of 4,000 other colleagues.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that all the soldiers dismissed in 2015 for losing ammunitions to the Boko Haram insurgents in Cameroun region, be reinstated, the Army had in a memo with reference number NA/COAS/GI/7/1 dated July 30, 2015 enacted a committee to screen and assess all cases of dismissal from Operation Zaman Lafiya.
The aggrieved soldiers stormed the premises of the secretariat of the Kaduna State Correspondent’s chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ yesterday and spoke through one Warrant Officer, WO, Shehu Ibrahim, who said the Army Committee met in Jaji, Kaduna, scrutinised and declared them qualified to be reinstated, but to no avail. He added that it was based on this clean slate that the soldiers were further moved to Kontagora on September 24, 2015 where they underwent several weeks of retraining.
The embattled soldiers said the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, at a point drafted an Army Officer to investigate their matter, which he did.
But when contacted, the Army Assistant Public Relations Officer, One Division, Colonel Usman Abdul, on the issue, he said it was only Army Headquarters, Abuja, that could speak on it.
WO Ibrahim said, “After the re -jabbing, a list of posting was published where the names of 98 of us out of 4000 soldiers were not included on the posting list, and we immediately brought the omission of our names to the notice of HQ NATRAC, and our names were compiled and forwarded to the Army Headquarters for inclusion in the posting.
“Hours later, the same day, 9 of the female soldiers on our same 98 men list of omission with serial number 83-91 were singled out, posted to units and given N10,000.00 each in our presence, whereas we the remaining 89 male soldiers were neglected in Kontagora.
“We further complained and the HQ NATRAC Commander, Brig Gen TJ Dauke, told us to write down our particulars and phone numbers and go back to our villages, that we were going to be called upon, with no stipulation to specific date.
“We as soldiers deem it judicious and feel it is the Army/Defence Headquarters authority that is the appropriate authorities to address our situation and proffer solutions to our predicament and not any other authority.
“As such, we, after several unfruitful appeals and efforts, had to unavoidably break communication chain as we are currently not being accounted for by any unit/formation, to appeal to the Army/Defence Headquarters authority to please act urgently and come to our rescue and afford us equal opportunity and rights to the Army job as our other colleagues are already exercising.
“We were not involved in any misconduct or offence, neither were we charged for any offence after our reinstatement and while in Kontagora, as our list were compiled by HQ NATRAC attests to thus fact. Thus we feel punished for no offence whatsoever.
“This case has lingered long beyond reasonable time, since October 2015, without solution no one seems to attend to us anymore.
“The right time, as it is said, for any event is always the suitable and appropriate time, therefore, we are acting promptly as this is the right time to act while the Operation Zaman Lafiya dismissed the soldiers’ reinstatement and posting process still tarries.”