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Documentary reveals low morale in Nigerian army

YouTube Documentary Raises Alarm About Demoralized Nigerian Army

Truth Nigeria

February 6, 2024

By Mike Odeh James

[Kaduna] A YouTube documentary has exposed how corruption, unpaid salaries, mistreatment of junior officers and stingy welfare checks have demoralized the Nigerian Army. The narrator warns of the risk of soldier corruption and mutiny.

A Youtuber identified simply as “I Love Jesus” posted a documentary on 30 January , 2024, that gave a vivid description of how demoralized soldiers refused to respond to distress calls of villagers under attack by radicalized terrorists.

The documentary, shot in Pandogari in Niger State, North Central Nigeria, also stated that the soldiers prevented local vigilantes from going after the assailants.

The incidents in the documentary appear to be factual. Politicsnigeria on January 28, 2024 reported the story referred to in the Jan 30 video by the anonymous videographer.

“In the aftermath of the recent abduction of 31 villagers in Jagaban village, Pandogari community of Niger State, North Central Nigeria, residents are raising concerns about the efficacy of military presence in the area,” according to the narrator.

“A group of more than 50 terrorists reportedly targeted the village, striking around 11 p.m. on Thursday. Despite distress calls, local residents claimed that the security forces stationed in the vicinity remained inactive during the attack.

“Assailants, armed and dangerous, fired shots in the air, instilling fear throughout the villagers. While some villagers managed to escape, 31 individuals were abducted, and a middle-aged man lost his life for resisting the attackers,” according to “I Love Jesus.”

“The village’s proximity to the Joint Security Task Force based in Pandogari, just two kilometers away, is especially concerning. Locals allegedly called the security team in a desperate attempt to get help, but they supposedly got no answer.

“Moreover, the security personnel allegedly stopped the local vigilantes from intervening, and they gave no justification for their actions.

“The Daily Sun reports that the villagers informed the security task force about the attack and the kidnapping of individuals, but they failed to respond. The security task force prevented the local vigilantes from pursuing the bandits, despite their willingness to do so.

“We are not sure why they resisted going after the people (bandits) and prevented the neighborhood vigilantes from attacking the bandits,” the narrator says.

Soldiers underpaid, maltreated, and demoralized

Map showing distance between Pandogari and Minna Courtesy Google map

Giving reasons why the military personnel in Pandogari behaved the way they did, the Youtuber read an anonymous letter written by a Nigerian soldier to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and dated Jan. 27, 2024.

The narrator explained that the salary of an average Nigerian soldier is N50,000 (50 USD), which is way below what can take care of the basic needs of his family. Furthermore, soldiers are forced to buy uniforms, boots, and other kits.

The letter is verifiable. Sahara Reporters published it on January 28,2024.

According to the letter, soldiers who are on the war front have not received their allowances of N35,000 (40 USD) since last year.

“Additionally, they are not well compensated or provided with adequate time to visit and care for their families. It is disheartening to witness Master Warrant Officers, who have risked and dedicated 30 precious years of their lives to serving this great nation, being assigned only menial tasks without proper consideration,” according to the narrator.

Responses from Military Veterans

Truthnigeria queried retired military personnel to assess the documentary’s claims.

A retired officer in the Nigerian Navy agreed that the allegations raised by the soldiers are well founded but explained that soldiers should not complain since they signed for it voluntarily, Navy Captain Umar Bakori told TruthNigeria in an exclusive interview.

“Joining the military is a voluntary service, while getting a salary is a privilege. When you apply to join the Army or Navy, you have the right to choose whether to apply to be an officer or an order rank and file.

“We have terms and conditions of service for officers, ratings (for non-officers), and other files; however, there is room for improvement. The officers are trained and paid to think for the other soldiers. So those complaining are really not patriotic,” according to Bakori.

Bakori further agreed that the salary of a soldier or rating may be N50,000 today; however, he noted that a few years ago, N50,000 was a lot of money.

“Few years ago, N50,000 was a very huge amount of cash, but with the coming of these administrations, inflation has devalued its worth,” he said.

For retired Staff Sargent Mordecai Funom, the allegations of the anonymous soldier are justified.

“Today, our soldiers are paid just N50,000; this is a package that cannot take care of the soldier alone, not to mention his family members,

Funom told TruthNigeria: “Added to that, the soldiers are not paid their allowances on time by their superior officers, even if the money is available. These situations breed a crisis of confidence in the ordinary soldier.

“Many unpatriotic soldiers may be forced to accept bribes from terrorists in order to get by. That is why you see that people on the Plateau and Benue are complaining that some military personnel have sold out or compromised,” Funom said.

Senator Ali Ndume, the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, told Channels Television on January 30, 2024, that he condemned the poor remuneration for security agencies, saying that recruits are paid less than N50,000.

“The recruits are paid less than N50,000 in some cases. How can you pay somebody money that cannot buy him a bag of rice, and you expect him to go and sacrifice and put in his best?” Ndume said.

“How can you pay a Nigerian soldier, for example, an allowance of N1,200 as his daily money and pay him N2,000 only as duty tour allowance and put him in the theater?” Some from Lagos, Oyo, and Ondo moved to Maiduguri,” he asked.

“Their parents are expecting that they will send them something monthly, and you pay the guy N50,000 or less. These are the major challenges that the government must rise to. Right now, we don’t have enough security agencies or personnel to handle the security challenges” Ndume added.

Soldiers Mutinied Due To Salary Delays, Corruption

David Adakole Ida

Photo Courtesy Mike Odeh James

When salaries are delayed, when soldiers are unnecessary subjected hardship and corrupt practices, soldiers tend to react negatively, according to David Adakole Ida, special representative of Africa Region Headquarter, International Human Rights Commission, Nairobi Kenya.

“All these ( delay of salaries ) occurs very regularly in Nigeria and mutinies have occured due to such unfavorable situations,” Idah, told Truthnigeria.

“In 2106, the personnel of the 21st Brigade of the Nigerian Army, stationed Borno State went on rampage over unpaid allowances running into hundreds of thousands of naira, and bad treatment by their commanders. The soldiers almost killed their Senior officers,” Ida said.

” The same thing happened in March 2021, Soldiers of Operation Lafiya surrounded the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole and shot into the air for over 6 hours The mutineers cited non-payment of allowances and poor equipment as reasons for their actions, Idah added.

Mike Odeh James, a conflict reporter based in Kaduna, reports on crime and corruption for Truthnigeria.

Copyright 2024 Truth Nigeria


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