Some Nigerian soldiers in Maiduguri, Borno State, have accused top officers in the Nigerian Army including the Theatre Commander, of their refusal to release arms to them to fight the Boko Haram insurgents.
The soldiers who spoke with SaharaReporters lamented the rate of corruption in the army as they alleged that the Theater Commander, Maj Gen Chris Musa, based in Maiduguri, refused to release the arms to men of the 145 battalion/5 brigade following the refusal of the brigade commander to succumb to certain demands.
One of the military sources said the federal government already released arms for the Nigerian Army in order to help soldiers combat the terrorists. He, however, said corrupt practices among top military commanders frustrated the efforts.
He said, “The Nigerian Army has refused to release new arms to fight Boko Haram simply because our commander refused to pay money.
“This always annoys me especially with regards to corruption in this country. The theatre commander in Maiduguri Headquarters refused to give locations including 5 brigade and 145 battalion new arms that were released by federal government.”
Speaking with SaharaReporters, another personnel corroborated, saying, “The government released the arms to them to share to locations in Borno to fight the insurgents. The 5 brigade and 145 battalion are among army bases at the boundary between Niger and Benin Republic. That is the place the insurgents usually bust out and enter Maiduguri. These places are key points they are supposed to equip with arms but because the commander refused to give them money, now they have refused to give him and his men, arms. Let the federal government and the world know what's happening.”
“That's what is going on now. The same corruption that is making them not to come and change over-stay soldiers is what they've taken into arms supply, that's why they are still delaying. This is just because the commanding officer didn't give money. It's too bad.”
This is only one in a string of incidents where Nigerian Army personnel openly protest the lack of arms and ammunition to fight the Boko Haram insurgents.
SaharaReporters in March 2021 reported how soldiers of an unidentified battalion in the then Operation Lafiya Dole stormed the Maimalari barracks, shooting sporadically into the air to protest nonpayment of allowances and poor equipment as reasons for their rebellion.
Some of the soldiers who spoke under anonymity recalled how a whole unit that went for reinforcement when Marte was captured, perished under the superior firepower of the enemy forces.
The Media Coordinator for the then Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa, had also confirmed the incident.
While blaming the protest on the soldiers’ minor admin/welfare, he had said the issues were being promptly addressed.