A letter believed to have been authored by a soldier in the ongoing ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ – a counter-insurgency operation in the North-East Nigeria, is currently trending on the social media.
The ‘soldier’, who claimed to be a Private in the Nigerian Army, addressed an open-letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to intimate him of massive corruption in the management of the operation and the impact on the lives of soldiers on the battlefront.
He said he was moved to calling the attention of the president to the development as many of his colleagues were already growing recalcitrant owing to the poor treatment suffered on the field.
The anonymous soldier specifically mentioned one Abdulrauf Aliyu, also a private, who was said to have left the field unofficially to take care of injuries he suffered while on duty, since the Army had refused to cater for him and his wellbeing.
“Your Excellency, corruption in the army is real and it is killing us. While we expect to die in the hands of the enemy, we don’t expect to die in the hands of the army, due to corruption and criminal negligence.
“Just the other week, about 14 (I am not sure of the exact number) of our colleagues died in the hands of Boko Harram, who attacked the army camp. The circumstances surrounding their unnecessary death warrant a full investigation by his Excellency. Sir, you will be shocked of the outcome. The bodies of the slain heroes are still lying here in Damaturu.
“Your Excellency, this is the third month in a row that we have been denied of our operational allowance. We have to rely only on our meagre salary for everything. From battalion commanders, to company and sector leaders, we are all in debt, because our salaries are not enough to sustain us at the battlefield let alone feeding our families back at home.
“It is a big shame that we have joined the army to defend the civilians, yet we have to go to the civilians in town to borrow money to fend for ourselves at the battlefield.
“It is said that the Federal Government spends about N14, 000 on each prisoner in Nigeria. Here, at the battlefront in Operation Lafiya Dole, the army spends about N600 per day on a soldier’s feeding, while in reality billions of naira is appropriated per year for this purpose. Your Excellency, we are treated like animals. Most of us are afraid to talk because of the dire consequence.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, your Excellency, kindly investigate. There is corruption in the army. Soldiers are needlessly dying,” the anonymous letter read.
According to the Punch Newspaper’s report, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, had promised to issue a statement on the allegations.