The soldiers, The PUNCH reports, are mostly from the north-east theatre of operation where the Boko Haram insurgency has persisted for more than a decade. Their ranks include master warrant officers, warrant officers, staff sergeants, sergeants, lance corporals, corporals and privates.
Although the Nigerian army denied the resignation which it described as “fake news” via its Twitter handle, a military source told TheCable on Sunday that the soldiers truly resigned. The source said some of them involved in the war against Boko Haram are “tired”, citing a recent onslaught by the insurgents as one of the reasons.
“Some of these soldiers are tired. We’ve lost many of our colleagues,” the source said. “The last attack on troops in Damboa, more than 20 soldiers died and up till now 50 are still missing, yet the authorities said only two died.” According to The PUNCH, the soldiers are among 380 personnel whose application for voluntary disengagement from service was recently approved to take effect from January. Twenty-four others reportedly gave their reason as “to take a traditional title”.
The approval for the resignation was said to be in a circular signed by T.E. Gagariga, a brigadier general, on behalf of the chief of army staff. The circular read:” In compliance with the provisions of Reference A, the COAS vide Reference B has approved the voluntary and medical discharge of the above named MWO, and 385 others listed as Annexes A and B.
“The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave December 3, 2020, while their disengagement date takes effect from January 3, 2021, in accordance with the Nigerian Army Administrative Policy and Procedures No 27 Paragraphs 3 and 4. “Accordingly, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at the Headquarters, Garrison, with their unit service documents for documentation.
“All forms of military-controlled items, arms, ammunition, and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certify that they are properly de-kitted. Please acknowledge.”
The war against Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east has experienced some setbacks recently — with casualties recorded by the Nigerian military. 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. Amid the setbacks, President Muhammadu Buhari recently told the service chiefs that their excuses would no longer be tolerated.