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Army Day Celebration: We are Being Neglected, Maltreated, Nigerian Soldiers Cry Out Again

Some personnel of the Nigerian Army have again threatened to stage a protest against what they described as ill-treatment, negligence of their welfare and terrible working conditions as families of their fallen colleagues have been allegedly forgotten by the military and the Nigerian authorities.

This is coming barely 48 hours to this year’s July 6th Army Day Celebration, in which the aggrieved soldiers have insisted that there is nothing to celebrate.

Some of the soldiers who spoke with SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity said that there was no need holding a luxurious celebration while officers are dying and family members of their colleagues killed while fighting terrorists are languishing in penury.

According to them, the major problem is that some of the top Army officers are involved in massive corruption and feeding large on the entitlements of personnel.

One of the soldiers said, “We are not happy. Nothing is worth celebrating. I don’t know what they are celebrating when they supposed to use that Army Day Celebration to think about their lives and think about how to make this army a better army, and to think about how to improve the welfare of soldiers and give them what belongs to them.

“The authorities tried to curb this through the IPPIS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System) but till today, they (the army officers) know how to block it because they are corrupt from the bottom. Instead of IPPS, POS (Point Of Sale) is what is paying soldiers today.

“They are celebrating Army Day while some soldiers are using their money to pay for the houses they are living in while they are serving in the army because there is no accommodation in barracks. There is no equipment, no uniform. Soldiers use their money to buy uniforms and they are talking about Army Day celebration. What are we celebrating? We are not celebrating anything. Nobody is happy to celebrate anything.

“A pair of Army uniforms in Nigeria is N30,000 and above. Some people in Maiduguri for the past 6 or 7 years are still in the battlefield but nobody is talking about their rotation. Some of them; their wives have divorced them because they couldn’t bear it any longer. Their children have turned to another thing.

“Those that sustained injuries because of this country are in hospitals using their money to treat themselves. Yet, the army would say that they are taking care of soldiers and the families of soldiers that lost their lives. How many times has the army’s spokesperson, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, come to the bush to ask soldiers what is going on? Or how many times have they gone to barracks to know how soldiers’ wives are faring?

“They are celebrating Army Day when former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, took all the money that was made for weapons for this country for his own selfish interests and nothing has been done because they are protecting him. Over 30 soldiers lost their lives a few days ago in Niger State and they are celebrating Army Day.”

“They don’t want to release money for operation allowance. How will the commanding officers feed the soldiers on the battlefield? Where will they get money to feed them? It has been like that since last month up till now and nothing has been paid. We are all tired and we still wonder what they are celebrating,” another officer said.

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