…says 6,752 soldiers were discharged; 25,655 enlisted in 5 years
… recommends improved welfare packages, periodic orientation exercise, others for personnel
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
There was no mass resignation of soldiers from the Nigerian army in the second quarter of 2020, a report of the House of Representatives has revealed.
It will be recalled that speculations were rife of mass resignation of 365 last year into which the House launched an investigation through its Committee on Army.
Submitting the report of the investigation for consideration yesterday, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas stated that contrary to the number, it was discovered that the total number of soldiers that voluntarily discharged from the service in the second quarters of 2020 for various reasons was 386.
Giving a breakdown, Namdas said that 356 resigned from the service for losing interest in the profession, 24 resigned to take up traditional titles, while 6 were discharged on medical ground.
The report further revealed that about 6,752 soldiers were discharged from the service in the last five years, stating voluntarily disengagement from the Army was normal.
Namdas revealed that interaction with the army command revealed two streams of disengagement which included voluntary and compulsory disengagements.
According to him, under the voluntary form of disengagement, any soldier willing to leave the service will cause a letter in his/her own handwriting to the unit commander who making enquires as to why would now make a recommendation to the Army Headquarters through the Commanding Officer.
This, he said, runs twice every year.
Similarly, the compulsory discharge is at the discretion of the army authority based on certain factors in the relevant official documents.
Namdas added that there 3 types of compulsory discharge such as discharge on medical ground, discharge on the disciplinary ground and discharge on a runout date.
He said “According to the Army, many have voluntarily discharged to take over the family business and to take chieftaincy titles. There is no compulsion to remain in the service when a soldier has lost interest.
“The Army gave statistics showing that in the last five years, the disengagement is far lower than the enlistment in the Army. 6,752 soldiers have discharged in the last five years while 25,655 soldiers have got enlisted within the same period.
“The lack of commitment on the part of some soldiers is the major reason for voluntary discharge from service. The Army disclosed to the committee that some soldiers, having seen the reality of going to the battlefront especially against Boko Haram usually voluntarily discharge from the service.
“Those soldiers did not realise that engagement in the Army is more than a job; it entails personal commitment, regardless of the welfare package.
“The Army also told the Committee that many soldiers also voluntarily resigned because they simply lost interest in the profession and wanted to take up or look for another job. Others voluntarily discharge from the service to take up traditional titles. There are also a few who voluntarily resigned for health reasons.
“From all the evidence available to the Committee, it is clear that: just as there is no compulsion in joining the Army, soldiers are free to voluntarily resign if they have served for up to ten (10) years.
Soldiers do not resign in the group, rather each soldier resigns on his/her own choice as an individual by submitting his/her own hand-written resignation letter to his/her own unit.
It has become a routine that every year soldiers resign voluntarily, and so the case of the resignations in the second quarter of 2020 is not unusual.”
Namdas further said that the document presented to the Committee by the army command also revealed that 1,908 soldiers left the Army voluntarily or on medical ground, while 4,844 left was as a result of regular run out date.
He added that not all soldiers who voluntarily resigned served in the front lines or were actively engaged in any combat operation, while all those affected were Non-Commissioned Officers.
“The documents show that all the voluntarily discharged soldiers were Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO), ranging from Master Warrant Officer (MWO) to private (PTE).
“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”, the report added.
The Committee made three basic recommendations which stated that “the Nigerian Army should improve on the welfare of its personnel, especially those in battlefields or other combat operations to further make them more committed to their job and to the nation at large; there should be effective monitoring or follow up in the delivery of the welfare packages in all the Army formations to ensure that they reach all the beneficiaries (the soldiers) in a fair and equitable manner; and the Army should continuously embark on an orientation of soldiers, both old and new, about the reality of their job and the need to be committed to their country.
This will reduce the number of soldiers leaving the Army due to a loss of interest.”