The Nigerian Army says citing “loss of interest” and “low morale” as reasons for disengagement by soldiers will no longer be accepted as the basis for approval of voluntary retirement.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported how over 500 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation wrote to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen General Faruk Yahaya, seeking voluntary retirement.
The action comes amid security challenges being faced by the military as it combats terrorists, bandits and other criminals in most parts of the country.
Some of the affected soldiers who spoke to SaharaReporters cited loss of interest, intimidation by superiors, corruption in the army, and low morale as their reasons for resigning from the army.
The soldiers in a letter to the army chief under Reference NA/COAS/001, quoted the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.
There have been allegations of corruption in the Nigerian Army which some of the soldiers have blamed for their loss of interest.
According to some soldiers, the army is the epitome of deep-seated corruption. They noted that corruption is affecting the prosecution of the anti-terrorism war in the Northeast.
In a military signal exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen General Faruk Yahaya said service personnel discharging at will does not augur well for the Nigerian Army.
The signal dated December 23 was signed by O.A. Oyelade, a Brigadier General on behalf of Yahaya.
The army chief insisted that reasons such as loss of interest in military service will no longer be tolerated as a basis for discharge
The signal read, “Military service in Nigeria is a voluntary service. Accordingly, able-bodied men and women apply to join to serve the colour after which, they apply for re-engagement or choose to voluntarily discharge. Others in the course of service decide to go on retirement or discharge before their Run Out Date (ROD).
“Going by the NA Forecast of Events, the Discharged Board is designed to hold quarterly to afford personnel opportunities to disengage for several reasons other than completion of ROD. The Board exercise is held bi-annually first to gather appreciable numbers of applicants who may wish to disengage and to be treated in bulk while also ensuring that the process is handled in a controlled and uniformed manner.
“Admittedly, service in the NA is voluntary and since it’s not a conscript army any personnel could opt to leave at different times. Conversely, considering the resources and efforts that have been put into training most of the applicants which requires that skills and expertise acquired is utilized for the benefits of the system opting out without serving the length prescribed in the colour is inimical to the system.
“Also, in order to ensure the expertise acquired is not easily let off by the service and to recoup the investment made to the benefits of the Nation, Service personnel discharging at will does not augur well for the NA. However, it was observed recently that most at times soldiers come out with various excuses to go on retirement and discharge which are not cogent enough or professional. In light of the forgoing, you are kindly requested to educate troops under command that henceforth, reasons such as loss of interest in military service will no longer be tolerated as basis for discharge.
“This reason is to say the least lame and therefore not accepted. Personnel are expected to explain the reason behind lack of interest e.g I do not want to fight for the country again, I have not been promoted etc to enable the service make necessary amendment for the betterment of the system. Accordingly other cogent reasons could be made for discharge from service otherwise such request would not be granted.”