“We haven't seen water to drink since morning, plus we have not had food for four days now. We have to fight regardless because our life comes first even before food. We are still combating insurgents even in this condition."
A soldier of 145 Battalion, Damasak, Maiduguri in Borno state has alleged that the commander, Lieutenant Colonel SA Ochalla, has starved him and his colleagues for four days straight without offering an explanation.
The soldier, who spoke with SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, said the soldiers, who are fighting insurgents regardless of the situation, are aggrieved as their two months’ cigarette allowance has not yet been paid.
He stated that the Nigerian Army is symbolic of the deep-seated corruption in the polity.
He said, “We the soldiers of 145 Battalion at Damasak, Maiduguri are dying of hunger. Our commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel SA Ochala, refused to feed us for four days now. He has also refused to give us our money for March and April cigarette allowance; the world should come to our aid.
“We haven't seen water to drink since morning, plus we have not had food for four days now. We have to fight regardless because our life comes first even before food. We are still combating insurgents even in this condition.
“This is the Nigerian system for you, everything is so corrupt. But the corruption is more pronounced in the Nigerian Army. I have been in the Nigerian Army for more than five years now and I think I can tell you this. Imagine, we are on deployment into the bush and we have not been fed yet. Our commanding officer gave no explanation for this. He has not held any meeting with anyone regarding this issue. We are starving, please help us.”
Nigerian soldiers have complained that they are outgunned by Boko Haram and that they are often sent into battle without adequate supplies.
In December 2014, an army court sentenced 54 soldiers to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram terrorists.
The soldiers were charged with mutiny and cowardice after they refused orders in August to help retake three towns held by the Islamist militants in Borno.
At least 356 soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North-East wrote to the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, seeking voluntary retirement over "loss of interest" last year.
The soldiers in a letter with reference number NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017, asked for approval to leave the Nigeria Army due to low morale.
SaharaReporters had extensively reported how Nigerian troops suffer mass casualty in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists due to lack of a robust intelligence apparatus and also lack of equipment.