The Nigerian Army Headquarters, Abuja, on Friday, stated that its soldiers attached to the Mobile Strike Team on Exercise Tura Takaibango in the North-East embarked on “complaints” about the obsolete weapons they were using and raised some other concerns which were addressed by the authorities.
However, the Nigerian Army, which was silent on the type of concerns, claimed the soldiers did not go on rampage over the issue of non-payment of allowances.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Mohammed Yerima, stated in a statement that the soldiers had a right to raise questions about obsolete weapons, adding that the Federal Government was making efforts to deploy more fighting equipment to what the military had presently in the North-East.
SaharaReporters had on Friday reported that aggrieved soldiers at the Maimalari barracks besieged the headquarters of the Theatre Command in Borno State, shooting sporadically into the air on Thursday night following their redeployment.
They were also said to have protested about their unpaid allowances and the poor weapons they were given to combat Boko Haram and other insurgents.
But reacting, the army spokesman, Yerima, stated that although the soldiers raised some concerns, they were not based on the alleged unpaid allowances.
He said, “Reports claimed that the aggrieved soldiers besieged the headquarters of the Theatre Command in Borno State, shooting sporadically into the air to protest over alleged unpaid Operational allowances as well as obsolete equipment.
“Preliminary investigations by Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Farouq Yahaya, revealed that what is described as a protest were mild complaints by few soldiers of the Mobile Strike Team deployed for Exercise Tura Takaibango in the frontline of operations.
“At about 3pm on March 25, some of the troops of Mobile Strike Teams 10 and 11, who were primed to conduct Phase 2 of Exercise TURA TAKAIBANGO in Bama after the first phase of the exercise, raised some concerns which were quickly addressed before they were re-launched to the second phase of the operations.
“On the issue of obsolete weapons as reported in some media, Army Headquarters’ position is that soldiers have the right to demand proper weapons to prosecute the operations. However, the Federal Government is making concerted efforts toward deploying new fighting equipment to augment the existing ones in the theatre of operation.
“The Army also wishes to deny the report that any soldier was owed any operational allowances. No soldier is owed any Allowance in the Theatre.”