We’re Facing Challenges in the Fight Against Boko Haram, Army Chief Admits
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Kenneth Minimah has confirmed speculations that some soldiers within the rank and file of the military involved in the war against Boko Haram terrorists are displaying acts of cowardice, indiscipline and desertion from duty and that these constitute the greatest danger in the ongoing fight against terrorism.
Minimah spoke during the just concluded COAS 3rd Quarter Conference 2014″ in Abuja, which had in attendance General Officers Commanding (GOCs) and other Operational Commanders.
According to reports posted on the twitter page of the Defence Headquarters (@DefenceInfoNG), the Army Chief during the COAS 3rd Quarter Conference frowned at what he described as “the rising acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conduct by troops”.
In the twitter posting confirmed by the Director, Defence Information, Major Gen Chris Olukolade, Minimah recalled the attempted mutiny by troops in Maiduguri, Borno State, against the then GOC 7 Division, Maj.Gen Ahmadu Mohammed.
The COAS blamed this on the fact that most people, who joined the military in recent times, do so out of the need for employment and not passion for military service.
The Army Chief Said: “Most people want jobs, even if it means joining the Army. When the reality of military service comes, he drops his rifle and runs away. As a professional army, the conduct of our troops must be above board at all times.”
Minimah subsequently directed all unit and operational commanders to put measures in place to check acts of indiscipline and misconduct by personnel under their commands.
He assured Nigerians of professional and disciplined Army, while pledging their total loyalty to the constitution and to the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s armed forces.
The report noted that the pervasive rot had become so frightening that the military authorities are considering an emergency and comprehensive overhaul of both their recruitment system and more importantly, re-orientation of personnel on the professional calling of soldiers.
According to a top military source, the top security command had been trying to deal with rising cases of sabotage within their ranks “and soldiers refusing to fight or running away in the heat of battle but were more rattled with the dangerous twist with recent acts of mutiny.”
“What we have today is frightening. This is not an issue of morale or motivation but outright case of cowardice with soldiers refusing to fight. They even beat up their officers and Commanders and before you know it they will start calling their political God fathers who will in turn start making demoralising comments,” the source said.
“Most people who joined the Army are joining believing it’s for wealth making, especially the younger ones. When they came in, it dawned on them that they have to fight and not just collecting the dollars. This is where their frustration begins and that is what has been playing out in this Maimalari Military Cantonment.
“It has been difficult getting them to imbibe the discipline required of a soldier. For example, the attitudes exhibited by this Battalion has been unheard of in the annals of Nigerian Military whereby you will send a soldier on assignment, he will be dictating to you where, when and how he will go and the type of weapon he must be given before going. Those who complain of weapons and other issues are all excuses born out of fear and cowardice, not issue of motivation and morale”.
A Senior Officer who witnessed the incident then, said: The newly formed Battalion 101 has been notorious “for failure, cowardice and dissertation of battle field. It’s more of cowardice and indiscipline than morale as people are saying. It’s not an issue of lack of motivation as was widely reported because these set of soldiers have been so fearful. They are afraid to go to battle because that particular Battalion has a habit of not going for battle.
“They just arrived here and they don’t want to fight and that is why they look for every excuse to avoid going to fight. In fact, they thought that by their acts of insubordination, they will just be replaced by another Battalion.”
In a related development, the Nigerian Army has released the result of their latest recruitment exercise through its online portal.
This was disclosed via their twitter handle @NigerianArmy, advising applicants to check the results on their website.
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