The Nigerian Army in a letter addressed to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, on Saturday, July 11, confirmed that no fewer than 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation have applied for voluntary retirement; citing “loss of interest” as their reason for disengagement.
1st News gathered that the soldiers wrote to Buratai on July 3, 2020, under Reference NA/COAS/001; quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.
In response, the approval of the voluntary resignation of the 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.
Based on the details contained in the letter, the majority of the soldiers cited loss of interest as their rationale behind the decision to quit the Army.
Military sources, however, linked this decision to loss of morale; poor weapons; unimproved allowances; and also the continuous loss of soldiers to Boko Haram attacks.
Since the beginning of 2020, Boko Haram onslaughts on military locations in the North-East have also intensified with large casualties on the part of troops of the Nigerian Army.
In March, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, said 47 soldiers were killed by a bomb explosion triggered by Boko Haram in Gorigi near Allargano Forest area in Borno State.
In the same month, the army confirmed losing three soldiers; while others were injured in a Boko Haram attack in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno.
In May, the insurgents also attacked an army location belonging to the 156 Battalion in the Mainok area with at least 10 gun trucks, killing five soldiers, while others were injured.
In June, the Boko Haram terrorists became emboldened; and shot dead an acting Commanding Officer of the army, Major K. Yakubu, during a gun battle in the Doron Naira and Magaji areas of Borno State.
The total number on the list of voluntary disengagement is 380; while 356 cited loss of interest, 24 cited “to take a traditional title.”
Writing on behalf of the army chief, Buratai, in the document, Gagariga said, “In compliance with the provisions of Reference A, the COAS vide Reference B has approved the voluntary and medical discharge of the above named MWO, and 385 others listed as Annexes A and B.
“The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave December 3, 2020, while their disengagement date takes effect from January 3, 2021; in accordance with the Nigerian Army Administrative Policy and Procedures No 27 Paragraphs 3 and 4. Accordingly, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at the Headquarters, Garrison; with their unit service documents for documentation.
“All forms of military-controlled items; arms; ammunition; and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date; and certify that they are properly de-kitted. Please acknowledge.”
A military source said the mass disengagement was indicative of the general discontentment in the army; and against the leaders.