The Nigerian army is said to have recalled soldiers previously dismissed from the military over their alleged refusal to fight Boko Haram insurgents.
It is worth noting that hundreds of soldiers have been sacked after the court martial proceedings found them guilty cowardice by the military officials. Moreover, dozens faced even more serious charges and were sentenced to death over mutiny.
The verdicts by the military tribunals were marred in controversy as several Nigerians urged the authorities to reverse both dismissals and death penalty handed out to the soldiers.
The soldiers explained that their refusal to fight the terrorists and cases of desertions had nothing to do with mutiny, but with the lack of adequate weapons to fight Boko Haram militants. However, the military authorities dismissed their arguments as untrue and insisted that the troops were equipped with sophisticated weapons to fight the insurgents.
In a recent development, Daily Trust citing some sources reports that some of the dismissed soldiers were recalled and are currently being screened at the Jaji military cantonment in Kaduna state. The reportedly says about 3,000 soldiers are awaiting determination by a committee from the army headquarters.
The source was quoted as saying:
“The soldiers are all there in Jaji cantonment awaiting their turns to be screened by the committee and whoever scales through might be recalled. It was their prayer that if General Muhammadu Buhari becomes president, he might recall them. These soldiers are trained and it is very dangerous and wasteful if the federal government terminates their employments.”
A soldier, who requested anonymity, recalled the past development explaining why it was wrong to accuse Nigerian soldiers of cowardice:
“I am a corporal and I have served in the Nigerian army for the past 28 years, I have served in Bama and Baga, what I saw there was a very bad situation, we were sent there to fight insurgents without weapons and ammunition, can you imagine, a small boy of 15 to 18 years will pursue a soldier and the soldier would run away simply because the he does not have the machines that the boy has, only for the army authorities to say they were dismissing us because we refused to fight Boko Haram.
“Nigerian soldiers are among the best around the world, the only problem we have is that they are not equipped with the equipment needed to combat the terrorists but we have the means and resources to do that.”
The army is yet to make an official statement regarding the recall of the earlier dismissed soldiers.