The Nigerian Army has said the voluntary retirement of over 200 of its personnel is a routine and not an aberration.
Army spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a statement on Saturday.
The Army’s reaction comes a day after a media report said at least 243 soldiers in the North-east and other theatres of operation applied to the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya, for voluntary retirement.
The action comes amid worsening security challenges the military is currently combating in most parts of the country.
The soldiers, drawn from various formations of the army across the country, are all junior cadres who are mostly fighting against terrorists and insurgents.
Confirming the development, Mr Nwachukwu, a brigadier general, said although the report is true, the personnel did not leave due to alleged corruption, poor service conditions and low morale as reported by the newspaper.
“The subjective and unethical report is a distraction and another failed attempt at dampening the morale and fighting will of the loyal, dedicated and patriotic fighting force of the NA.
“Perhaps these impenitent mischief makers need to be schooled to understand that the NA is not a conscript Army and that recruitment into the NA is voluntary with extant policy on discharge and retirement of soldiers and officers respectively, like other organisations,” the statement partly read.
Read the full statement:
VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT OR DISCHARGE IS A ROUTINE IN THE NIGERIAN ARMY
The allegation that soldiers of the Nigerian Army (NA) are proceeding on voluntary retirement due to alleged corruption, poor service conditions and low morale as recently reported by some media outfits in the social media is nothing but a concoction of the imagination of the unrepentant enemies of the nation and mischief makers and should be outrightly discountenance by the public.
The subjective and unethical report is a distraction and another failed attempt at dampening the morale and fighting will of the loyal, dedicated and patriotic fighting force of the NA.
Perhaps these impenitent mischief makers need to be schooled to understand that the NA is not a conscript Army and that recruitment into the NA is voluntary with extant policy on discharge and retirement of soldiers and officers respectively, like other organizations.
This provides its personnel the opportunity to apply for voluntary discharge, when they deem fit and meet the terms and conditions as stipulated in the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/ratings/airmen (Revised) 2017.
It is thus, the inalienable right of a personnel to voluntarily or on medical grounds apply for discharge, if they meet the terms. It is therefore not an aberration that the COAS granted approval for 91 NA/32/4792 WO NDAGANA ISHIAKU and 242 others to voluntarily discharge from the NA, as being unprofessionally manipulated by some media.
Given the pedigree and mannerism of the publisher of the ill-fated report, it is clear, that it is targeted at deflating the high morale of troops by downplaying recent critical interventions by the COAS Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya on troops’ welfare, which include car loans, housing loans, extensive construction of new accommodation, massive renovation of old and dilapidated accommodation, building of befitting residences and issuing of vehicles to Regimental Sergeant Majors, scholarship awards to children and wards of fallen heroes and other unique interventions in the theatres of operation to sustain the heightening morale of troops. These interventions evidently account for troops’ game changing onslaught in the North East.
It must also be mentioned, that the quantum of equipment that have been injected into the theatres and prompt payment of operational allowances, have all turned the tide against the insurgents.
Also worthy of note is the welfare flight for troops, which has significantly reduced the burden of troops travelling in and out of the theatres, in addition to huge commitment on the medical needs of wounded-in-action soldiers and the barracks communities.
Equally important, is the fact that troops are now being regularly and consciously rotated from the frontline, hence, issues of overstay and battle fatigue are gradually being overcome. Suffice to say, that some of these recently discharged soldiers are beneficiaries of these giant strides.
The COAS, once again congratulates the discharging personnel for their gallantry, patriotism, loyalty and courage while in service and wishes them the very best as they successfully exit active service from the NA.
He also reiterates his avowed determination to continue to have direct impact on the welfare and wellbeing of both serving and retired personnel. He is also assuring the retirees that soon, their various commanders would organise a farewell luncheon in their honour, as it is the practice in the NA since Gen Yahaya took over command.