Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Boko Haram: Nigerian military denies report of soldiers begging for food, sleeping in classrooms


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a 30-year-old graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/RayyanAlhassan, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The Nigerian army has distanced itself from the trending video clip and media reports alleging that its soldiers fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeastern part of the country beg for food and sleep in classrooms.

Recall that on September 21, TheCable newspaper had published an investigation on the Nigerian soldiers deployed to the Northeast to fight the insurgents claiming that the troops are starved for food and had to sleep in classrooms.

The report also revealed that many of the soldiers in Maimalari barracks constructed makeshift houses for themselves, adding that other units posted to the bushes lack proper feeding.

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The newspaper also revealed that the soldiers on the frontline are owed operational allowances and do not get hazard/danger allowances.

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However, in a statement on Thursday, the Director, Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, John Agim, said that there was nothing farther from the truth than the story.

Mr Agim, a brigadier-general, refuted the assertions, saying “it is a known fact all over the world that the battlefront is not a playground and the ability to endure hard conditions differentiates soldiers from civilians.”

The spokesman, therefore, drew the attention of the media and the general public to activities of fifth columnists whose only objective is to “collaborate with enemies of our nation to prolong their own organizational interests.”

According to him, the story/video is one of their many strategies targeted at breaking the cohesion and the fighting spirit of the troops.

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He added that same goes for accommodation at the battlefront as the soldiers are either on the move or in trenches.

“Accommodations where necessary, are makeshift and not expected to be luxurious. That is the reality and price of the Military Profession.

“There is no easy way. For those who may not know, there is no barracks in Sambisa forest and several other troops’ locations in the North East,” he reminded.

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The brigadier-general affirmed that troops are promptly paid approved operational allowances aside other welfare and administrative arrangements.

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He, however, noted that where there might be some challenges in the battle-space, which according to him is normal, appropriate measures were being taken to address them.

He concluded that the story is a failed attempt to distract the purposeful direction in the counter-terrorism fight.

“The Nigerian Armed Forces is stating categorically here that its fighting spirit is indomitable and no amount of falsehood can distract the military from fighting terrorism to a conclusive end.

“The public is hereby enjoined to disregard the publication and continue to give the military the needed support and cooperation. Together we shall bring total peace and security to our fatherland,” he addressed.

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