A total of 227 soldiers serving in the North-eastern zone of Nigeria have protested their alleged dismissal from the Nigerian Army by the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division Jos, Plateau State.
The protesting soldiers led by Sergeant Abiona Elisha stormed the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Plateau state secretariat Friday January, holding placards calling for their reinstatement into the army. According to Elisha they were dismissed from the Army on Tuesday 13 January, after being called from their various operation units to face a panel at the barracks and without being given any fair hearing or told what their offenses were.
Some of the soldiers alleged that their refusal to fight members of Boko Haram in October 2014 led to their dismissal.
“We were dismissed this week Tuesday from the service of the Nigerian Army after sending us to go and suffer fighting insurgency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states. All of a sudden, we were recalled to the barracks and made to face trial. Even at the trial, we were not given the chance to defend ourselves. ‘They just took a decision and dismissed us. We were not even told what our offences were during the so-called trial. We are surprised that we can be treated like this in our own country. We were sent to fight insurgents without weapons; a lot of our colleagues were killed in the course of defending our father land. Even those who are in hospital treating injuries they sustained from the battle field were also dismissed while still on hospital admission. The worst situation is that families of our colleagues killed in Adamawa and Yobe are languishing in hunger as the Nigerian Army refused to pay their entitlement ”Sergeant Abiona told an online blogger.
When contacted, Col Texas Chukwu Deputy Director, army public relation of the 3 Armoured Division, denied knowledge of the dismissal of the soldiers.