National Security: 10,000 Dismissed Nigerian Trained Soldiers Beg For Recall


20140904-070027.jpgIn the spate of the national security challenges, an appeal has gone to the Presidency and Nigerian Security Council to urgently recall the over 10,000 Nigerian trained Soldiers recruited into the Nigerian Army since 1979 till date who were allegedly dismissed by the Military.

Blank NEWS Online findings reveal that the disciplinary processes which led to the alleged dismissal of majority of the Nigerian soldiers had procedural lapses as sundry issues raised against them were not properly investigated.

The ex-soldiers have therefore appealed to the Presidency and Nigerian Security Council to help review their cases to either be re-absolved into the Nigerian Army or discharged accordingly.

It could be recalled that a process initiated by the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), ACM Paul Dike (rtd) and Lt. Gen. Danbazo respectively, to review and subsequently re-absolve the dismissed soldiers into the Nigerian Army, has been suspended.

Blank NEWS Online gathered that those already recalled have been made to attend Refreshing Courses at the School of Infantry, Jaji and posted to their respective units, while others who who are yet to benefit beg that the process should be sustained for national interest.

A security analyst told Blank NEWS Online that “Our government has deliberately abandoned over 10,000 of our well trained Soldiers who were unjustly dismissed and we are crying wolf over insurgency by some unknown elements. These military best hands should be re-absolved to help contain the spread of insurgency.

“We appeal to the Federal Government to continue with the recall exercise started by ACM Paul Dike because they discovered that too much of their men were outside. Government should urgently recall these Soldiers who have families to take care of before they are hired by the wrong people”, the analyst appealed.

Also, a dependable security source revealed to Blank NEWS Online that some of the best Artillery handlers are among the yet to be re-absolved Soldiers who were recruited in 1979.

“It is very unfortunate and regrettable that these men have had their recall delayed because, even if sophisticated guns are purchased by the Federal Government, we still need these men to teach others how to operate the weapons. They were among the best handlers of our Artillery”, the source disclosed.

A letter of appeal, signed by some of the Redress Soldiers with email (onyeayanavokafor@gmail.com) reads:

“The undersigned soldiers have undergone Nigerian Military training in NIgerian Army drill School, Zaria and Corps training respectively and one way or the other, they were dismissed from the service.

“Please sir, we are appealing to the Nigerian Security Council to look into our affairs as a matter of urgency and temper justice with mercy and recall us back to the service or discharge us accordingly, as we have nothing doing to help our family.

“Some of us have undergone several training in the Nigerian School of Artillery, Kachia, Kaduna state and acquired unquantifiable knowledge during these trainings.”

The appeal letter was signed by BDR Onyeayana Okafor (79NA/9257), CPL Raphael Iyama (79NA/3370), L/BDR Michael Olisakaomam (79NA/18909), L/CPL Emovre Eugene, L/CPL Sani Musa (79NA/8537), L/CPL Thomas Odu (79NA/9619), PTE Bright Akpoghenta (79NA/30858), PTE Olusola Ogundipe (95NA/39/2347), L/CPL Zakarya (79NA/72792) and PTE David Rojowa Bernard (79NA/19358) among others.

Meamwhile, a particular case in question is that of one Bombardier (Bdr) Okafor Onyeayana (79NA/9257) who served at the 302 Artillary Regiment, Onitsha and was attached to the 341 Field Artillery Regiment (FAR) for the purpose of Operation Harmony 4 in the Bakassi Peninsula.

The ex- military officer was summarily dismissed for allegedly reporting circumstances in the gun position to 302 (GS) Artillery Regiment Commander at rear.

However, during his trial, no officer from his unit was made a member of the panel that tried him and the key witnesses to the case were not invited to the sitting by the Board of Inquiry (BOI).

Despite a letter from his then Unit Commander, Col. Bajen, calling for a re-trial and the need for the Army Legal Service (ASA) to carry out a judicial review in the interest of fairplay and justice, the case is neither re-visited nor the dismissed officer recalled.

The letter dated November 07, 2002 with Reference No. 302AR(GS)/03/2/A reads:

“The above named Ex-Soldier had a protracted disciplinary case while serving in “S” Bty in Bakassi Operation Harmony early part of 1998. He was subsequently given a 3 Count charge and the verdict of dismissed Regiment was awarded by the CO, The Battery was affiliated to (Lt. Col. B. Iganus).

“Not satisfied with the judgement, the soldier filed a petition to the ASA and a Board of Inquiry (BOI) was subsequently ordered to investigate the matter in details. Unfortunately the report of BOI proceedings from where the former commander drew his decisions did not do a thorough job, perhaps due to the revelation that most of the key witnesses to the case were not present during BOI sitting. However from the evidence of the few witnesses that appeared before the BOI, one could see that the Board omitted some vital facts and arguments in expressing its opinions and recommendations. Besides the recommendations of the Board were contradictory.

“The substantive offences committed by the ex-soldier that led to his dismissal were disobedience to particular order, insurbodination and impersonation. These offences from my own opinion were not properly investigated. There were procedural lapses that would require some legal interpretation. There is therefore the need for the ASA to carry out a judicial review of the case in the interest of fair play and justice. In doing this, the BOI document would be a useful Reference material.

“It will indeed be appreciated if the ASA re-visit the case and consider it on its own merit”, the letter from his then Unit Commander, Col. Bajen read.

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