A lower-ranked officer with the Nigerian Army has revealed how newly recruited officers were mobilised to the battlefield without being paid their entitlements.
The officer told BBC Hausa, that a soldier [deployed to the battlefield] is entitled to a monthly salary of N45,000. But many officers would go for months without being paid.
“We can spend two to five months without being paid,” said the officer. “It took about five months [after being deployed to the field] before they started paying me.” His four months arrears were hanging in the air.
The situation has worsened to the extent that “we have to buy military khakis and other relevant materials from our pockets,” the officer groaned, adding that the materials were supposed to be distributed by Nigerian Army.
The disparities mostly “depend on the commanding officers,” he said. “Some are good and some are bad. Though, Nigerian Army had improved since the appointment of the new army chief.”
Major Muhammad Bashir Galma, a retired military officer cum a security expert, believed that such allegations must be made as long as money is concerned. He stressed that the leaders in the force are not the same.
Noting the officers have ends to meet, Galma advised that the allegation must be investigated, stating that failure to do so could weaken the efforts of the officers in tackling insecurity.
In February, some aggrieved junior officers, wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that their entitlements are not being paid. Though the Nigerian Army would later deny their claims. It argued that the officers were being paid “through a joint fund scheme”, contending that there is no way a soldier could be excluded.
While the letter has yet to generate the desired demands, the officers warned that if their concerns were not addressed, they could revolt against the system.
Reacting to this, Galma, said a strike or riot is a serious crime in the military or police force which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment or even death.
Protest is one of the denied rights in the military. According to Galma, it remains a prerequisite condition that must be signed by officers even before joining the force.