Some troops deployed to Yobe State as part of the Joint Task Force to check the activities of terrorists have cried out over their abandonment and accused the military authorities of keeping them in the battle line beyond their approved stay.
Most of the soldiers had been deployed to the state several months before the declaration of a state of emergency in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno by President Goodluck Jonathan last month.
The soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, said military authorities are keeping them in the troubled state beyond the approved three months which is causing “lack of motivation and low morale” among the soldiers.
“Apart from the police that adhere to the rule of rotating troops every three months, all military personnel in the Yobe JTF are presently on their eighth months now, and yet no one is talking about our rotation,” said a soldier who has been in Yobe since last year.
Information Nigeria learnt that the practice by the Nigerian Army authorities is to rotate troops deployed on a mission every three months as part of measures of improving operational efficiency.
Confirming the development, Director of Information, Defence Headquarters, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, said indeed some of the soldiers had stayed beyond the three months they were meant to, but said the reasons for the extension was explained to them.
“Originally, the troops were meant to stay for three months, that was the agreement that took them there.
“Along the line, their stay had to be extended. And when it was extended, it means that there has to be a new procedure which will also make up for their needs while in that mission.”
“Besides the authority that extended their stay there has to make the necessary political contact to formalize it, that is what is going on and has been responsible for their overstay,” he added.
The defence spokesman further claimed the soldiers had been briefed about the extension.
“This has also been explained to our soldiers, we don’t expect our soldiers not to understand this because their commander has made this very clear them. If they now choose to affect their morale then using the media to address issues that are formal, then I don’t think it is proper. And I don’t think any medium should be established for that purpose,” he said.
Olukolade added that the relevant authorities are “tidying up the necessary political issues that would take care of their (soldiers) extension and involves also the processing of whatever entitlement is theirs.
“These soldiers are aware of these, as it has all been duly explained to them by their commanders and cannot be attributed to lapse or lack of care for soldiers.”