250 Soldiers Dismissed Over Lateness to Parade, Plea Reinstatement
A group of Nigerian soldiers Tuesday stormed the premises of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Kaduna calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Army to re-engage them, having been dismissed last Friday for coming late to the parade ground.
A spokesperson of the group, who requested anonymity, said, after their return from the north-east, they went through a six months’ re-training, awaiting posting, but when they were called upon, they arrived late due to distance of where they were coming from.
He said, “They called for scale ‘A’ parade on Friday, so that names will be taken for posting; they have even started the postings. But from where we live, it is a 30-minutes trek to the parade ground – and we don’t have vehicles. On reaching there, we were late and the parade ground was surrounded by the Military Police (MP); there was no way we could enter. We were later asked to gather in a single place and write our names.
“The parade ran from 6.00am to around 8pm. I can tell you that the names were even compiled using torch light, because it was dark.
“After writing our names, they told us to come back on Monday for clearance; upon coming back, they called our names one after the other and asked us to submit our identity cards and uniforms and then leave; that we have been dismissed by the Nigerian Army.
“It was after the six months’ training that we were told to come for the parade, and reason for our dismissal was because we came late,” he added.
The spokesman noted that according to decree 105 and orders of the Nigerian Army, lateness does not warrant dismissal; as such, they were ready to serve any punishment that will be given to them, even if it means going back to Maiduguri.
“I have spent 21 years serving in the Nigerian Army, while others have spent more than that. We are calling on the Nigeria Army to help us; we have families, and do not know where to start from. We know we were late to the parade ground, but they should listen to our plea; we agree to serve whatever punishment that will be offered to us even if it means to be posted to Maiduguri, but lateness does not warrant our dismissal.”
He added that, they were from both the 1 and 2 Brigades in which among them, some have not been paid salaries after their accounts were closed when they were first dismissed last year.
The spokesman of 1 Division, Nigerian Army Kaduna, Col. Abdul Usman, said, the army will ascertain the claims of the dismissed soldiers, adding that the Nigerian Army will issue a statement concerning the matter.
The complainants were part of the 3,000 soldiers dismissed in September, 2015, over their refusal to fight Boko Haram. They were later reabsorbed and sent to Jaji, Kaduna state, for retraining and posting, but their redeployment was delayed. Since then, majority of them had been living outside the barracks, in rented apartments, among civilians.