Thursday, September 19, 2019

Some Nigerian Soldiers Could Face Punishment for Allegedly Writing an Article Online

--- by Femi Thomas (NaijaBlog)

Prior to the recent online speculation
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai
about the overstay of 143rd Battalion in the ongoing battle against the Boko-Haram insurgency, some soldiers of the unit may face severe punishment for allegedly writing  the article, which has attracted the concern of some senior officers in the Army.

It should be noted that troops of 143rd Battalion were inducted into Operation Lafiya Dole in Adamawa, Northeastern Nigeria on November 30th 2014 and advanced to Madagali and Limankara, Borno State from Mararaba Mubi on foot. The unit has her headquarters at Madagali, Adamawa State with four locations, which include Michika, Gulak, Sabon Gari, and Limankara under it.

However, the unit among three other units (114th,115th, and 117th) are under the 28th Task Force Brigade, Chibok, which is responsible for the operation in the Adamawa Axis.  A source close to the military revealed that except for the 114th Battalion, none of the other three battalions, including 143rd Battalion, which was the first to be inducted into the operation had been rotated.

It should be noted that Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T. Buratai, has in the past mentioned that no unit is to exceed two years in the operation without rotation.  A source also revealed that as a result of this, soldiers after two years in the operation were patiently waiting to be rotated to enable them re-unite with their loved ones.  All to no avail.  About two consecutive times, the Unit has gotten a signal for rotation, which died without actions.  The most recent was the nomination of 144th Battalion of Abia State to rotate the unit, only for them to be diverted to Mongunu in Borno State after two months of intensive training at Buni Yadi, Yobe State.  Next was the nomination of 6th Battalion, Awka Ibom which also died down as well.

As a result to this, a dissatisfied soldier took to social media and sent an SOS article across soliciting for an urgent intervention of the appropriate authority.

In the article, he condemned the present and past commanding officers, present and past Brigadier Generals and blamed them for theoverstay of the units. The writer also condemned the Chief of the Army Staff and blamed him for thwarting the nomination of the units that were supposed to relieve 143rd Battalion and regarded him as not having integrity. Moreover, the writer lamented the poor feeding, lack of special promotion, and poor welfare of soldiers among others.

As a result to this, the unit has been changed from operation back to unit, replaced by 144th Battalion  on 15th of July, 2019. However, higher authority of the Army picked offence because of the write up and wants to know the writer of the social media article. Ten soldiers of 143rd Battalion who were not allowed to go with the unit were arrested and accused of masterminding the write up because they had decried the poor feeding in their location on their unit's WhatsApp chat platform sometime,  a while  before the emergence of the said article. The soldiers were arrested and upon interrogation were detained in the Battalion's Guardroom at Madagali and subsequently taken to 7th Division Military Police Guardroom at Borno State for further interrogation and detention.

A source close to the military disclosed that this single act might keep the soldiers behind the bar for as long as possible without trial.