The federal government through the Ministry of Defence, has finally released funds for the payment of operational allowances of thousands of Nigerian soldiers fighting in several theaters of operation including Operations Lafiya Dole, Sharan Daji, Harbin Kunama and the recently concluded special security operations in the South-South and South West.
Also an unknown soldier has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari lamenting the alleged corruption in the army and that this is the third month in a row that they have been denied operations allowance.
He lamented that they ‘rely on meagre salary for everything and that from battalion commanders, to Company and Sectors leaders, they are all in debt, because the salaries are not enough to sustain them at the battlefront and feeding thr families back at home.
‘It is a big shame that we have joined the Army to defend the civilians, yet we have to go to the civilians in town to borrow money to fend for ourselves at the battlefront.’ he said.
But the Ministry of Defence on Monday said the funds released was to be used to pay the third quarter operational allowance of soldiers partaking in international peace-keeping and peace-enforcement operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and others.
It would be recalled that for some time, there had been murmuring by troops in the frontline concerning the delay in the payment of the allowances which is regarding as a potent morale boosting factor for troops who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis in battle.
The release of the funds is coming just as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai on Sunday, dispatched a ‘Special Message of Assurance, Encouragement and Commendation’ to troops of the Nigerian Army engaged in various operations both within and outside the country.
According to the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, This letter was sent to various Formations and Corps Commanders, as well as Commanders of the various training institutions of the Nigerian Army on Sunday 5th November 2017.
“In the letter, Lt. General Buratai showered encomiums on the troops for the unflinching loyalty, perseverance, courage and dedication to duty which brought about the desired success in the fight against terrorism, insurgency and other criminal activities.
The Army Chief also paid glowing tribute to those troops stationed outside the shores of our great nation assuring the troops especially those on Operation Lafiya Dole, of their welfare.
Consequent upon the release of the funds for the payment of operational allowances and logistics for the Third Quarter 2017 from the Ministry of Defence, Buratai stated “That this would facilitate the payment of operational allowances owed to them for the last 2 months this week accordingly”.
The COAS while thanking the troops for their patriotism, patience and understanding, further reiterated that he will ensure that as usual, all funds meant for the troops and the Operation Lafiya Dole will always be paid promptly when received from the appropriate Ministries.
He further stated that the Nigerian Army High Command under his leadership will continue to remain responsible, responsive and accountable to troops’ operational requirements. Commending the troops for their bravery, discipline and loyalty, the COAS nevertheless reminded them to always have confidence and trust on the leadership of the Nigerian Army and indeed that of the nation, adding that they must work hard to flush out the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists wherever they are hibernating including the cyber terrorists.