A total 127 soldiers are exiting the Nigerian Army despite the worsening security challenges the military is currently combating in some parts of the country.
The soldiers, drawn from various formations of the army across the country, are all of the junior cadres who are mostly at the forefront in the field.
The military personnel, comprising one Master Warrant Officer, three Warrant Officers, 22 Staff Sergeants, 29 Sergeants, 64 Corporals, seven Lance Corporals and one Private, will disengage in May, according to a memo seen by PREMIUM TIMES.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general, has since approved their formal disengagement.
The list of the exiting soldiers did not distinguish between those embarking on voluntary retirement and those leaving the army on medical grounds.
According to the memo signed by T.A Gagariga, a brigadier general, who communicated the approval of their disengagements, the 127 soldiers are to submit all military properties in their possession.
“In compliance with the provisions of section A, the COAS vide reference B has approved the voluntary discharge of the above named NWO and 126 others listed in annex A. The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave WEF 26th April, 21 while their disengagement date takes effect from 26th May 21 in accordance with the NA administrative policies and procedures No. 27 paragraphs 3 and 4,” the memo read.
“Accordingly, I am directed to request you relate to their respective units to release the affected soldiers to report to HQ CAR with their unit service documents for documentation NLT 5th January 21 and ensure that:”
“a. All forms of military controlled items, arms, ammunition and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certified that they are properly de-kitted.”
“b. They complete all necessary documentation for withdrawal from: 1. NAWIS contributions 2. DENFUND contribution 3. National Mortgage Contributions,” the memo read.
Army spokesperson, Sagir Musa, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES enquiries on the resignation of the soldiers.
The exit of the 127 soldiers who have neither attained retirement age nor mandatory years of service, is coming in the middle of security crises in the country.
Their resignation is coming after a larger number of their colleagues quit en masse last July, a development which insiders in the military said was indicative of low morale in the forces.
The country is currently battling the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east, armed bandits in the North-west and North-central, as well as militants and pirates in the South-south.
The Nigerian Armed Forces, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, had in the past lamented about insufficient personnel to help in restoration of sanity in the country.
Recently, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, a retired major general, said the military was understaffed and underfunded to tackle the various security challenges facing the country.
Despite the minister’s claim of low funding for the military, the defence sector has for the past five years taken a large chunk of Nigeria’s budget.
Following repeated complaints about insufficient personnel, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo revealed last year that there was an ongoing deliberate and comprehensive consolidation of the security situation in the country which included plans to recruit more troops and officers to beef up the personnel of security agencies in order to contain the threats and security concerns in the land.