Not less than 356 soldiers have reportedly applied for voluntary retirement citing loss of interest in the Nigerian Army.

According to ThePunch, the soldiers wrote to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, on Friday, July 3, 2020, under Reference NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.

The approval of the soldiers’ disengagement was contained in a 17-page circular signed by Brig Gen T.E. Gagariga for the army chief.

The document according to the newspaper was also copied to Headquarters, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Borno State as well as the Headquarters of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 81, and 82 Divisions of the Nigerian Army.

Chief Of Army Staff, Maj. Gen, Yusuf Buratai. [hausa.leadership]
Chief Of Army Staff, Maj. Gen, Yusuf Buratai. [hausa.leadership]

The majority of the soldiers applying for voluntary disengagement are reportedly from the North-East theatre of operation.

Military sources have, however, attributed the development to loss of morale, poor weapons, unimproved allowances and the continuous loss of soldiers to Boko Haram attacks.

The Punch reports that the total number of soldiers that applied for voluntary disengagement is 380, but while 356 cited loss of interest, 24 said they are leaving the army to take traditional titles.

The 356 soldiers are Master Warrant Officers, Warrant Officers, Staff Sergeants, Sergeants, Lance Corporals, Corporals and Privates.

A document written by Gagariga on behalf of Buratai state’s that the soldiers’ disengagement date will take effect from January 3, 2021.

The document reads; “In compliance with the provisions of Reference A, the COAS vide Reference B has approved the voluntary and medical discharge of the above named MWO, and 385 others listed as Annexes A and B.

“The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave December 3, 2020, while their disengagement date takes effect from January 3, 2021, in accordance with the Nigerian Army Administrative Policy and Procedures No 27 Paragraphs 3 and 4. Accordingly, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at the Headquarters, Garrison, with their unit service documents for documentation.

“All forms of military-controlled items, arms, ammunition, and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certify that they are properly de-kitted. Please acknowledge.”

In recent times, Nigerian soldiers have in viral video complained about poor quality of their fighting equipment in the North-East. The soldiers also complained about how the Boko Haram insurgents continue to attack them due to alleged insiders’ connivance.