By Augustine Ehikioya
The Nigerian Army has denied the media report claiming that soldiers were mandated to give torches to their units before embarking on travels.
A statement on Thursday by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Onyema Nwachukwu, and made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA), described the report as “ridiculous, mischievous and outrightly misleading.”
The statement said “The Nigerian Army has been notified of an exclusive report published by Sahara Reporters with the above headline. Knowing the modus operandi of Sahara reporters as a medium that derives delight in maligning and denigrating government institutions and establishments, it would have been unnecessary to give an ear to this screaming headline of lies.
“However for the sake of Nigerians to whom the Nigerian Army is accountable, it is crucial to set the records straight, for the benefit of the public.
“It is an indisputable fact that the NA spares no effort in ensuring that troops are properly kitted with supplies and other ordnances as much as possible, based on available resources. All essential kits that would aid troops in effectively carrying out assigned tasks are routinely issued and prioritized to troops at the front lines.
“Additionally, “Leaves” and “Passes” are Command responsibilities which are taken seriously by the NA, especially in operational theatres. Personnel who intend to go on leave or pass are listed in a roster, well ahead of the anticipated time of travel and are usually released without any fuss, in line with well established administrative procedures. Furthermore, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) also recently approved welfare flights for personnel going on pass or leave.
“This is also being strictly implemented and monitored by the Department of Operations at the Army Headquarters.”
It added “Therefore, to assert that the NA mandates soldiers to purchase torches for their units before proceeding on leave or pass in order to see their families, is ridiculous, mischievous and outrightly misleading. This spurious allegation should therefore be discountenanced by the general public.”
The statement pointed out that since the assumption of command of Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya as COAS, no effort has been spared to improve the welfare of troops fighting in the frontlines.
“Several aspects of the war effort have been addressed, in order to improve troops’ fighting efficiency and equipment, amongst others.
“The NA wishes to affirm that troops remain motivated to achieve the task at hand, which is to decisively curtail the activities of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province Terrorists in the North-East theatre of operations.
“The NA equally wishes to use this medium to call on media organizations to exhibit professionalism through balanced and fair reportage,” it stated.