The Nigerian Army on Monday again dismissed more than 200 of the soldiers who were recently pardoned and recalled, ostensibly for their role in the recent protest that greeted news of their deployment back to the North east.
In August, 2015, over 3,000 soldiers who had been dismissed from the army for various offences committed in the North east were pardoned and recalled to the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, NASI, Jaji, Kaduna State for training and reintegration back into the army while 66 had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment in December.
Vanguard newspaper had reported in January that the recalled soldiers had refused to be returned to the war theatre. The icirnigeria.org gathered that during the protest, soldiers pelted the Commanding Officer who broke the news of the deployment back to the North east, a Major General, with sachets of water.
A day after the Vanguard report, the army sent a Major General to Jaji, where the recalled soldiers were stationed, to fish out the soldiers that leaked the information to the media.
As revealed by this website in this report, eight soldiers were arrested and detained at the Military Police guardroom in Abuja for more than two weeks on suspicion of being the informers.
Our findings show that the soldiers were not aware that a senior officer was coming to address them at their base, Camp Kabala, so when he arrived and a parade was called, more than 200 soldiers were absent.
Two days after the parade, which was more than three weeks ago, the identity cards of the errant soldiers were confiscated but nothing was said to them until Monday when they were told of their dismissal from service, a soldier, who does not want to be named for fear of being sanctioned, told our reporter.
“They just called our names today and said we have been dismissed for missing that parade,” one of the affected soldiers said.
The dismissed soldiers believe they were made scapegoats because, according to them, since their recall in August last year, the army had been looking for ways to get rid of them from the job.
Another affected soldier said he had even become tired of being a soldier and that he was ready to do anything to survive.
“My brother, they have just shown to us that the system does not care about you. Right now, I am tired of the whole thing and I don’t like talking again. All I know is that I will do anything for me and my family to survive,” the soldier said.
The army has refused to confirm or deny the report, as army spokesperson, Sani Usman, a Colonel, did not answer his phone or reply a text message sent to him.
Before the dismissal news broke, the icirnigeria.org had learnt that about 2,000 out of the pardoned soldiers had been posted to barracks, five months after they were ordered to report to Jaji
According to military sources, the posting was done on Thursday, January 28, 2016, after the soldiers were split into four groups two days earlier.
Those posted were sent to 1 Division in Kaduna, 2 Division in Ibadan and 81 Division in Lagos.
On Saturday, January 23, before last Thursday’s deployment of the 2,000 men, we learnt that 200 soldiers had been deployed to Kogi State to secure oil pipelines, 200 were deployed to Yobe State and 150 to Burataia, hometown of the Chief of Army Staff, Yusuf Buratai, a Lieutenant General, in Borno State.
Aside those posted, we also gathered that 500 still remain in Jaji for more training before being drafted to guard pipelines in undisclosed locations.
“Soldiers were lobbying to include their names once we were told the 500 will be deployed to secure oil installations,” a soldier said.