Reps task Army on improved welfare of personnel

386 soldiers voluntarily resigned in Q2 2020 - Report

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged authorities of the Nigerian Army on the need to improve on the welfare of personnel especially those involved in the prosecution of anti-terrorism and other combat operations.

The resolution was passed after the adoption of the recommendations of the House Committee on Army, a report which investigated the ‘Purported voluntary resignation of over 365 Soldiers’.

According to the 10-page report laid by the Chairman, House Committee on Army, Hon. Abdulrasak Namdas, the Chief of Army Staff who was represented by the Director Military Personnel, Army headquarters, Brig. Gen. U. T. Musa affirmed that “discharge from the Army is a regular and routine activity. He said the case of 365 soldiers who voluntary resigned from the Army is one of such.

“According to him, the idea that the soldiers resigned as a result of general discontentment in the Army was false. He maintained that some mischievous fellows must have laid their hands on the leaked document containing the names of voluntarily discharged soldiers for the second quarter of 2020 and misrepresented it as a case of mass resignation.

“The Army informed the Committee that there are basically two types of discharge from the Service, namely: voluntary discharge and compulsory discharge.”

Going by the report of the interaction held with the Army Authorities, Hon. Namdas confirmed that “in the last five years, the disengagement is far lower than the enlistment in the Army. 6,752 soldiers were discharged in the last five years while 25,655 soldiers got enlisted within the same period.

“A lack of commitment on the part of some soldiers is the major perceived reason for voluntary discharge from the service. The Army disclosed to the Committee that some soldiers, having seen the reality of going to the battlefront especially against Boko Haram, usually voluntarily discharged from the service. Those soldiers did not realize that engagement in the Army is more than a job, it entails personal commitment, regardless of welfare package.

“The Army also told the Committee that many soldiers also voluntarily resigned because they simply lost interest in the profession and wanted to take up or look for another job. Others voluntarily discharged from the service to take up traditional titles. There were also a few who voluntarily resigned for health reasons,” the report read in part.

However in its findings, the Committee observed that the “total number of soldiers who voluntarily discharged from the service in the second quarter of 2020 is 386, which is well over the 365 soldiers voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army for loss of interest, 24 resigned in order to take up traditional titles while 6 were discharged on medical grounds,” the Committee affirmed.

Hon. Namdas stated that the recommendations of the report were based on the fact that the soldiers that resigned were mostly citing poor welfare as being the main reason for wanting to leave the service of the Army.

He stressed the need for the Nigerian government to ensure officers of the armed forces are well motivated, this is so that the personnel defending the Nigerian territory should be well motivated to do so, and overcome threats; home or abroad.

To this end, the lawmakers underscored the need for improved welfare of Nigerian Army personnel, especially those in battlefields or other combat operations to further make the Soldiers more committed to their jobs and to the nation at large.

The House also stressed the need for effective monitoring or follow-up in the delivery of the welfare packages in all the Army formations to ensure that they reach out to all the beneficiaries (the soldiers) in a fair and equitable manner.

In the same vein, the House tasked authorities of the Nigerian Army on the need to “continuously embark on an orientation of soldiers, both old and new, about the reality of their jobs and the need to be committed to their country. This will reduce the number of soldiers leaving the Army due to loss of interest.”

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