By Augustine Ehikioya
Reacting to media report, the Nigerian Army has disassociated corruption from the cause of resignation of 25 soldiers from service.
It stated that voluntary retirement and discharge are routine in the service.
This was disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Onyema Nwachukwu. It was made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA).
It reads “The Nigerian Army is compelled to respond to insinuations in a publication by Sahara Reporters, an online media, attributing the resignation of 25 soldiers to allegations of corruption against the Nigerian Army.
“While it is true that approval was given for the voluntary discharge of the soldiers, the insinuation that the soldiers are proceeding on voluntary discharge due to alleged corruption is an implausible effort to frantically dampen the morale and fighting will of the loyal, dedicated and patriotic troops of the NA, engender disaffection in the ranks and ultimately put the nascent Nigerian Government and nation in a panic mode.
“Evidently, the medium and its owners need to be schooled to understand that the NA is not a conscript Army and that recruitment into the NA is voluntary, with extant policies on discharge and retirement of soldiers and officers respectively, like other organizations.
“This provides its personnel the opportunity to apply for voluntary discharge or retirement, when they deem fit and meet the terms and conditions stipulated in the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service Soldiers/Ratings/Airmen (Revised) 2017.
“It is thus, the inalienable right of personnel to voluntarily or on medical grounds apply for discharge. Therefore, It is not an aberration for the COAS to approve the voluntary discharge of soldiers, who willingly applied and satisfy the terms for discharge from the NA, contrary to the mischievous manipulation of the occurrence by the media in question,” it said.
The statement went on “Given the pedigree of the publishers of the tarnishing story, whose concerted effort has always being devoid of national peace and stability, but rather characterised by “pull him down” syndrome, disunity, desire for violent disorder, revolution and atrocious propaganda; it does not require a soothsayer to connect the dots, before any discerning mind realises that the publication was sinisterly and treasonably conjectured to deflate the high morale of troops, as all through the report there was no factual evidence to support the claims.”
It added that it is on record that the NA has continuously strived to provide a supportive and conducive work environment and conditions for its personnel.
“This is evident in the NA’s continuous efforts to improve its operational capabilities, including the injection of equipment into the theaters of operations, prompt payment of operational allowances, including the Ration Cash Allowance recently increased by the new Chief of Army Staff, massive construction of new accommodation and extensive renovation of old and dilapidated buildings.
“These are in addition to the huge financial commitment to the medical needs of wounded-in-action soldiers, including medical evacuation overseas, award of scholarship to children and wards of fallen heroes and other unique interventions in the theatres of operations to sustain the heightening morale of troops.
“Equally important, is the deliberate implementation of Army Headquarters plan for troops’ rotation from the frontline. Hence, issues of overstay and battle fatigue are gradually being surmounted and becoming a thing of the past.
“Suffice to state, that the NA under the leadership of Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja remains committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity, probity and professionalism by providing exemplary and pragmatic leadership, sound administration, that will continue to boldly guarantee the welfare and motivation of NA personnel, as well as provide requisite enablers for operational effectiveness, while maintaining public trust,” the statement said.
It urged the general public to discountenance the “manipulative insinuations peddled in the said publication as it is glaringly unsubstantiated.”