The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, confirmed that 386 soldiers resigned from the Nigerian Army in the second quarter of 2020, “which is well over the 365 figures previously assumed”.
The House, however, stated that the resignations were not related to the ongoing war against insurgency in the North-East.
The PUNCH had reported exclusively on July 12, 2020, that no fewer than 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation, applied to the then Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, for voluntary retirement, citing “loss of interest” as their reason for disengagement.
The paper had reported that the majority of the soldiers were from the North-East theatre of operation, a development which military sources attributed to the loss of morale, poor weapons, unimproved allowances and the continuous loss of soldiers to Boko Haram attacks.
The approval of the voluntary disengagement of the 356 soldiers was contained in a 17-page circular from Buratai, AHQ DOAA/G1/300/92, signed by Brig. Gen. T.E. Gagariga for the Army chief.
Consequently, the House resolved on July 14, 2020, to investigate the alleged mass exodus of soldiers from the Nigerian Army.
At the plenary on Tuesday, the House considered and adopted a report by the Committee on Army, chaired by Mr Abdulrazak Namdas.
In the report, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, the committee said it observed that the welfare of soldiers across Army formations “has been a recurrent challenge over the years.”
It said though there was an improvement in their welfare packages, “soldiers still stressed on an urgent need for the Army to do more.”
The committee also noted that discharge from service on medical grounds could either be voluntary or compulsory.
“Some soldiers may not be committed to the service, hence they sometimes evade duties and/or responsibilities they consider too tough, which ultimately leads to voluntary discharge,” the report said.
The committee listed its findings, saying, “The total number of soldiers who voluntarily discharged from the service in the second quarter of 2020 is 386, which is well over the 365 figure previously assumed. Out of this number, 356 soldiers voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army for loss of interest; 24 resigned in order to take up traditional titles, while six were discharged on medical grounds.
“Deducing from the evidence presented, not all the soldiers who voluntarily resigned served in the front lines or were actively engaged in any combat operations; some of them performed other duties at various Army formations across the country.
“Based on the facts available to the committee, there was no mass resignation from the Army; individual soldiers resigned on their own from their units.”