Unless you don’t follow the news, then you must have come across one of the many reports of disgruntled military personnel, from order rank soldiers who abandon their posts or complain via social media of the alleged lack of ammunition and economic support for soldiers in the field, to high ranking titled officers who have released statements decrying the negligence that puts the lives of Nigerian soldiers at the front line at risk. It has become so common to hear these kind of reports from what was once the most secure and comfortable arm of Nigerian law enforcement that it will come as a surprise to very few, that 356 soldiers, many of whom are in active duty, have resigned from their posts citing loss of interest in being in the Nigerian army.
This is worrying because there are only 3 ways to leave the military; retirement, honourable discharge and dishonourable discharge. For a soldier to choose to retire is to choose to open themselves up to a possible court martial, a dishonourable discharge which removes their pensions and benefits and even jail time. According to The PUNCH, most of the soldiers who have made this decision were posted to the north-east, which puts them in direct conflict with the Boko Haram religious terrorist insurgency, and where most of the complaints of negligence have come from. It also reports all the soldiers who resigned made their applications in January and their requests for an honourable discharge have been approved.
As with previous acts of perceived mutiny, the Nigerian army through its public channels has denied the resignation of the 356 soldiers bluntly dismissing it with two words.
Fake News pic.twitter.com/k3sftq4GaQ
— Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) July 11, 2020
The reality is, actions like this lend credence to fears that Nigeria is losing the war against Boko Haram. About a week ago, over 20 soldiers were reportedly killed in an ambush by the insurgents, barely four months after about 70 soldiers died in similar circumstances. Can we still win this, can we motivate our soldiers, our frontline against the impunity of terrorists to keep protecting vulnerable citizens?