Three hundred and fifty-six (356) soldiers are formally exiting the Nigerian Army citing “loss of interest”, Premium Times reports, in a development insiders say is indicative of broken morale in the army.
The army is currently engaged in various combat operations as insecurity worsens across the country.
Many of the soldiers are among the troops engaged in the decade-long war against Boko Haram in the Northeast, while others are from various other formations across the country.
But apart from the 356 who are leaving for losing interest in the army, 24 others are exiting because they want “to take traditional title,” making a total of 380 soldiers, including two Master Warrant Officers and 28 Warrant Officers, voluntarily discharging from the army, according to sources with direct knowledge of the development.
Already, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has, this July, approved the voluntary discharge of all the 380 soldiers who are to proceed on terminal leave on December 20 and disengage on January 3 next year in accordance with Nigerian Army Administrative Policy and Procedure 27 Paragraphs 3 and 4, our sources confirmed.
“That the reason given by most of them is ‘loss of interest’ is an indication of low morale in the army due to poor leadership,” one army insider said, claiming the army had been “broken, demoralised and polarised more than ever before under Buratai.”
“It is an indication of the rot in the system,” said another officer who knew about the mass disengagement.
More than those enduring the long official process to exit the army, many soldiers have deserted the army especially from among the troops combating Boko Haram in the Northeast, sources in the frontline said.
At various times, commanders and soldiers have appeared in videos complaining about logistical support and equipment available to them to combat the terrorists in a war that has in ten years precipitated a humongous humanitarian disaster in the Lake Chad region, displacing millions of people and killing thousands.
In one case, a former commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Olusegun Adeniyi, appeared in a rare video admitting soldiers were outgunned by the terrorists. In that video, March this year, Mr Adeniyi could be seen among disorganised troops decrying losses of men and equipment in a particular encounter with Boko Haram, who were “facing us” from “every flank with not less than15 gun trucks.”
Mr Adeniyi was swiftly removed from his position after the video emerged, with the current commander, Faruq Yahaya, taking over.