Investigations reveal that soldiers now lobby their way through so as to get favourable postings to places other than the North East Zone where terrorists attack are bcoming alarming.
Consequently, soldiers have begun intense lobbying to escape deployments into the North-East, following the escalating wave of Boko Haram attacks on military formations in the region, investigations further revealed.
Multiple military sources confirmed to journalists that as part of the fallout of the Boko Haram attacks on military formations in Metele, Kangarwa, Malumfatori and Arge areas of Borno State as well as the Buni Gari area of Yobe State in November, more soldiers were now lobbying to avoid postings to the volatile North-East region.
Also, It was learnt that a significant number of the soldiers presently stationed in the North-East were lobbying for redeployment.
A Brigadier-General who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told the press that a significant number of personnel were influencing their posting against the North-East while some were deserting the military.
He said, “In the military doctrine, we have what is called cowardice. Soldiers can exhibit cowardice when they hear negative reports. Let me tell you why we have been experiencing attacks in those Lake Chad areas. Those army deployments were intentionally made around Lake Chad to block the Boko Haram’s channels of supply. The Boko Haram understands why the military are blocking their channels and they therefore ensure they keep attacking those bases to open up their own channels of supply.
“There is a way some people have been glorifying the attacks and this makes the soldiers who are there to be afraid. These are very young military officers with families and they can be afraid. Most times when I as a general say I am on my way to the North-East, I get messages from friends and families to be careful. But I am going under escort. Now, imagine soldiers who are just deployed to actually go and fight. This is why some reports are not helpful because they are escalating these attacks, glorifying the terrorists and putting fear in our soldiers. Some of these soldiers read all these online reports and they are afraid. They are now avoiding going to the North-East like a disease.
“I just came back home and learnt that one of my cousins whom I brought into the army was redeployed. He was supposed to go to the North-East. He ran away. He is in the village in the South-South riding motorcycle, because he does not want to die.
“Now, if we have such incidences all over, what will become of our security architecture? Our worries are that while the terrorists are doing theirs, so many media reports reaching soldiers in the North-East are disturbing and pulling down their morale.”
A colonel serving in Abuja also spoke on the latest development, saying personnel were now increasingly influencing their postings to avoid the North-East.
He said, “Soldiers are trained to die in the course of defending the country’s territorial integrity, but not when you die because there are no adequate equipment. The terrorists know how to strike because they have informants who leak the strengths and weaknesses of the army to them.
“Since there is no specific time frame for soldiers serving in the North-East, some of them are disgruntled and they are lobbying not to be posted there. The increasing attacks in the North-East are dampening the morale of troops and this is why the military authorities usually send the service chiefs to visit and talk to them.”
Further findings confirmed that a number of the soldiers serving in troubled areas of Bornu State were considering the option of deserting due to the renewed attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Specifically, a soldier in the Maimalari Barracks, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, said although the insurgents had yet to invade the area, their activities in neighbouring communities had raised concern over the safety of army personnel in the area.
The military source said some recent attacks by the insurgent groups had been focused on schools while soldiers captured by the terrorists were subjected to gruesome killings.
According to the soldier, the prevalence of these fearful developments has led to a situation where more soldiers now lobby to be redeployed out of the North-East.
The source said, “Honestly, I am even thinking of leaving (the military). They (insurgents) are coming close to the barracks. When I made an enquiry about my posting, I was told that I must complete four years (in Maiduguri); but I have spent two years. I do not know what to do.
“I will not make it (my quitting) official. I have made up my mind to go. But the problem I have is: what will I fall back to?”
The soldier added, “At first, the Boko Haram (insurgents) were in the villages. But they are coming close to the town now. And whenever they capture any soldier, they do not shoot the soldier; they just slaughter the soldier with knives.
“I know some soldiers who have blocked their posting to Bornu. They have godfathers. I also know many soldiers who influenced their posting after our training at the depot (in Kaduna). One of the female soldiers just told me that she was working to get posted to Lagos.”
A corporal, who served in the North-East between 2011 and 2016, identified only as Ben, said troops were lobbying because of inadequate weapons to defend themselves and the communities.
“You are given only AK-47 rifles to face the Boko Haram terrorists who have machine guns, GPMG, gun trucks and anti-aircraft guns. You are not going to return alive from that war. This is why some soldiers are willing to be redeployed, if it is possible. The terrain is not friendly. The land is desert and you need both adequate military and welfare provisions to survive. But these things are mostly not there,” Ben said.
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