The Nigerian Army has announced its dismissal of over 300 soldiers from service for deserting the Operation Lafiya Dole counter-insurgency campaign in the North-East and going away without leave, among other allegations.
Findings by our source discovered that the men were disengaged by their unit commanders between 2015 and 2016.
Also, investigations showed that some of the soldiers were also discharged for certificate forgery, age fraud, inconsistent Bank Verification Number, and other conduct considered inappropriate by the various unit commanders.
It was gathered from the report that 24 soldiers of the 118 Task Force Battalion, Kaura Cross, Baga, were dismissed from the military on December 13, 2015, for refusing to board an articulated truck from Maimalari cantonment to Baga.
However, it was learned the military officers had complained about the mode of transportation and proceeded to trek for five days to the battlefront at Baga to retake the location from Boko Haram but on arrival, Col. S. Omolori, their Commanding Officer, charged them with desertion and dismissed the first batch of 24 soldiers.
The record has it that Omolori had on January 4, 2016, discharged the second set of 30 soldiers and another 24 men also for desertion.
Further investigations revealed that 45 soldiers of 157 Battalion were equally expelled on January 16, 2016, for going AWOL.
Investigations also revealed that on the 28 February 2016, 24 soldiers were demobilized for going AWOL just as 36 privates who graduated from the Army depot were sent packing by the authorities for certificate forgery, inconsistent BVN, age fraud, among other issues.
Investigations further revealed that some of the affected soldiers had challenged their dismissal by their unit commanders, whom they accused of high-handedness and tyranny.
However, the ex-soldiers, in their petitions to Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. pleaded to be reconsidered into the military.
Johnson Oyewole, A lawyer to the former troopers, showed confidence that the COAS would address the soldiers’ complaints, nullify their dismissal and reinstate them into the army, noting that many cases were being reviewed.
Oyewole, who is representing over 200 dismissed soldiers, said, “The problem is from some field commanders who have failed to flush out insurgents in their areas of responsibility and were venting their frustration on the troops.”