The Nigerian Army has violated the 2017 revised Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers, by failing to provide artificial limbs for hundreds of soldiers injured during the Boko Haram war in the North-East and other operations across the country.
At the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna State, alone, there are more than 400 injured soldiers who are attached to Operations Lafiya Dole and Sahel Sanity.
SaharaReporters obtained the new HTACOS 2017 which replaced the 2012 edition, and where it is stipulated that “where the limb was lost as a direct result of an accident while on duty, and not due to personal negligence, no charge shall be made for the supply, repair or replacement thereof.”
It was also revealed in Chapter 21 of the HTACOS 2017 that the supply, repair and replacement of the limbs for the soldiers shall be at public expense.
The new service conditions were reviewed by the outgone administration of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (retd.) and the outgone service chiefs, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas – all retired.
It had been reported how the outgone service chiefs allocated to themselves eight flashy Sport Utility Vehicles, over 40 soldiers as guards, free medical cover within and outside the country as well as other juicy retirement benefits, in the revised document.
SaharaReporters confirmed from Chapter 21 of the HTACOS 2017 that the Nigerian military is mandated to provide artificial limbs to soldiers injured during military operations within and outside the country.
Checks, however, in the Operation Lafiya Dole theatre in the North-East particularly, revealed that such provision of prosthesis to injured soldiers had not been made by the outgone army chief nor by the present chief.
The revised military conditions read in Chapter 21.03 and 21.04, “The conditions for supply of artificial limbs shall be as follows: a. Where the limb was lost as a direct result of an accident while on duty, and not due to personal negligence, no charge shall be made for the supply, repair or replacement thereof.
“b. Circumstance that will necessitate an officer paying for a replacement limb will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Special Appliances; The conditions for the replacement of special limbs shall be as follows: a. The supply, repair and replacement of special appliances that are necessary for the military efficiency of an officer shall be at public expense.
“b. Supply, repair and replacement of special appliances shall be on repayment, at cost price where: (1) The appliance is not necessary for military efficiency. (2) Damage or loss is the fault of the officer.”
The outgone army chief, Buratai, had been known for only visiting injured soldiers in the hospital with his last visit on January 12, 2021, which was to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna State, where 416 injured soldiers attached to Operations Lafiya Dole and Sahel Sanity, were being treated.
Another recent visit was in April 2020; Buratai visited the 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital at Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, Borno State, where he saw soldiers injured by the Boko Haram during an encounter in Gorgi, Borno, where 29 Nigerian soldiers were killed.
Military sources in the North-East confirmed to SaharaReporters that the army might have been overwhelmed by the number of casualties in the frontlines and had no such provision at the moment.
“The Boko Haram war is taking its toll financially on the military. There are not even enough funds to buy ammunition, upkeep and other exigencies. So, the army is not providing such limbs at the moment; maybe in the future,” one of the sources said.
None of the injured army personnel at the hospital also confirmed to SaharaReporters that the army authorities had provided artificial limbs to those in need of them.