A Nigerian soldier has accused the Army authorities of neglecting their personnel, especially non-commissioned ones.
Non-commissioned soldiers refer to those in the following groups: master warrant officer, warrant officer, staff sergeant, sergeant, corporal, lance corporal, private and recruit.
The Lance Corporal, who spoke to SaharaReporters on condition of anonymity, accused authorities within the Nigerian Army of diverting what is due to soldiers of lower ranks.
He said: "I believe the basic salary is coming as it should be. I doubt if they can tamper with that. The question should be if it’s enough. But regarding allowances, I’m going to speak generally about Nigerian Army. We receive almost zero allowances.
"Soldiers are entitled to allowances. Almost every activity in the army goes with an allowance, but only very few are paid. The Nigerian Army is naturally structured to make the non-commissioned officers slaves to the commissioned ones in every aspect."
Buttressing his point, the soldier, who has spent about eight years in the army, narrated how he and his colleagues buy themselves uniforms and boots even when the Nigerian government has budgeted for them.
"It seems the Nigerian government pays for all these allowances (except for wardrobe allowances which the Federal Government said they would include in the 2021 budget).
"But somehow, the money just doesn’t come (especially for the non-commissioned cadre).
"I’ve been in the army for almost eight years and the only time I have been issued uniform was during my initial military training in Depot, Nigerian Army. We buy these things ourselves because we have to look good; they are very expensive."
The soldier, who was deployed to Borno State in 2016 to fight Boko Haram insurgency, described as unfortunate that despite protecting and dying for Nigeria, soldiers have largely been neglected.
He said just like the country itself, the Nigerian Army is in a shambolic state, with no one championing its interests.
He said: "The army is in slumber as the country is asleep. Nobody is speaking on behalf of the military and yet they can’t speak for themselves. The country is waiting till the day soldiers will open their eyes."
He also alleged that there have been irregularities and unjust deductions in their utility bills and insurance funds by the authorities.
The development comes amidst waves of resignations by soldiers over alleged neglect of their welfare by the authorities.
In July 2012, about 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation resigned from the army – some on voluntary retirement, while others cited loss of interest as their reason for disengagement.
The soldiers had written to the army chief, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, on July 3, 2020, under Reference NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.
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.
Again, this January, another batch of 127 soldiers resigned from the Nigerian Army and are due to leave by May.
The military personnel comprised one Master Warrant Officer, three Warrant Officers, 22 Staff Sergeants, 29 Sergeants, 64 Corporals, seven Lance Corporals and one Private.
Their resignation came a few days after Buratai told recruits undergoing training in Falgore forest camp in Kano that they would be deployed to Sambisa forest.