Wednesday, February 10, 2016

250 Soldiers Protest Dismissal From Service

Representatives of 250 soldiers from the Nigerian Army School of Infantry located in Jaji, Kaduna State yesterday visited the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) council in Kaduna to protest their alleged dismissal from the army.

The soldiers, who said they were part of the 3000 recently re-engaged after a review of their cases by the army authorities described their dismissal on February 1, 2016 as unlawful, and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the army authorities to come to their rescue saying, “we have families to cater for.”

The soldiers, who pleaded anonymity, said they were ready to serve any punishment if it would warrant their reinstatement.

“We do not know where to start from after spending over 20 years in the army”, a representative said.
Explaining what led to their dismissal, the soldiers said: “We were brought back from the North-east to Jaji after they suspended us for different offences. But when the order came from President Buhari that we should be reinstated into the military, we all went and were screened after which they sent us for intensive training.
“We were asked to report for verification, but because we came late to the last parade in January 2016, they closed the gate where the soldiers were being verified and asked us to write our names, all 250 of us. Later, they read out a letter to us that we were dismissed from the military after collecting our identification cards.

“We were shocked by the decision, I have spent over 20 years in the army and I have also served in the North-east before we were brought back to Jaji and now you are asking us to go when we have dependents to cater for,” a spokesman said.
On why they were absent at the last parade which led to their dismissal, he said: “We had to trek for 30 minutes before getting to the parade ground and by the time we got there, they had closed the gate as majority of us were not mobile.”

He assured that they are willing and ready to serve the Nigerian Army and the country, while pleading that they be pardoned for any offence they might have committed.
When contacted, spokesman of the 1 Mechanised Nigerian Army Division Headquarters Kaduna, Colonel Abdul Usman, said the army headquarters would issue a statement on the issue.

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