Civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday, raised the alarm over growing indiscipline within the Nigerian Army.
According to the group, about 500 soldiers and military officers have been court-martialled in the last 32 months, especially in Nigeria’s terrorist-ravaged North-East theatre of war, as a result of indiscipline.
The Army personnel were court-martialled for various offences across the country including corruption, manslaughter and sexual abuse.
The figures were based on collated media reports between November 2019 and July 1, 2022. HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement yesterday, called for urgent retraining of members of the Nigerian Army and a comprehensive personnel audit to instill professional excellence amongst soldiers and commissioned officers.
Onwubiko said: “The high number of soldiers and military officers facing charges of professional misconduct and indiscipline is worrisome. It signposts danger in the system. We are worried also that the use of extrajudicial killings of civilians in the South East of Nigeria by the Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police Force has made Nigeria appear like a failed state whereby might is right.
“To have this high number undergoing disciplinary measures shows that there is a loose end somewhere in the current Army’s hierarchy which ought to be tidied up.
“The Army must fundamentally restructure its training and recruitment units so the best brains and potentially ethical officers would be recruited. Root causes of indiscipline like poor salary and unpaid allowances should be looked into if there is any.
“Those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder should be immediately attended to for timely management of their mental health.
“Soldiers who die fighting for Nigeria must be treated as national heroes and the wellbeing and welfare of their families adequately taken care of by the Federal Government of Nigeria ,as a right and not mere privilege.
“The structure of compensations for those soldiers who die fighting to make us stay safe should be legally set up and seamlessly administered by corruption free bureaucratic processes.”