Soldiers numbering 3,032, who were court marshalled and later pardoned last August for various offences, including alleged refusal to fight Boko Haram in the North East, have again rejected posting to the war front.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday recalls that the death sentence passed on some of them was recently commuted to life while others had their sentences reduced.
According to a report, the soldiers declined posting because they claimed that they were yet to be reintegrated into the Army, in spite of being pardoned.
Instead, they argued that the so-called pardoned was merely to re-sentenced to the war front stressing that efforts to report to their units were rejected at their bases since they have no re-instatement letters.
The soldiers, who generated public sympathy especially when their wives protested their posting to the North East to face better equipped terrorists, also alleged that they were neither re-admitted into the barracks nor have they been paid for seven months.
The pardoned soldiers were said to have been gathered before the Commandant of NASI, Major General Kassim Aldulkareem, who informed them of their new posting effective January 11, next Monday.
But they declined. Their refusal, it was learnt, did not go down well with the Command and Staff College, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, NASI, Jaji, Kaduna state.
“We are not going! Give us re-instatement letters! You are sentencing us back to war,” according to sources in Kaduna.
Further, another report quotes one of the soldiers who confided in national daily as stating, “We were told to assemble in Jaji on August 17, which we did. Then on August 19, the General Officer Commander, GOC, of 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen Adeniyi Oyebade gathered us and without prior noticed moved us to Nigerian Army training Centre, NATRAC, Kontogora.
“Some of us found ourselves there in bathroom slippers. We were just taken straight to the place. Then, without any additional clothes or uniform, we were subjected to what was clear punishment, not training for another three weeks.
“Still in the clothes we came in, we were again relocated to 333 artillery Barracks, Njetilo, Maiduguri. We got nothing but constant insults as cowards. We were there without uniforms no arms. They just left us there and we were abused and told to assemble every two hours, for another three weeks.
“In Jaji, we went through another round of punishment, not training. Yet, we were not given any letter to show that we are still serving soldiers.
“So when the Commandant came and said we were going back to the North East, without clearing our status, we felt we have been punished enough,” he said.