Enugu — The gross neglect and collapsed infrastructure in most Nigerian Army barracks across the nation, came to the fore yesterday as the Commanding Officer, 103 Battallion, Garki, Awkunanaw, Enugu, Lt. Col. M.K. Ibrahim told the members of Senate Committee on Defence, that the only medical clinic in the barrack uses toilet as a labour room.
The 103 Battallion barrack accommodates about 3,000 persons, according to the Commanding Officer, who added, "Considering the number of officers and soldiers and their families living inside this barrack it is not accommodating only officers in the 103 Battallion; more than 40 percent of the soldiers from Headquarters 82 Div, and 82 Div garrison stay here with their families.
"The station also has one in-patient ward with capacity to admit four patients at a time we use toilet in the house as a labour room where I will show you in the course of your inspection of the barrack," Ibrahim told the committee that visited yesterday to inspect projects and facilities in the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu.
The information drew both laughter and expression of surprise from those inside the commanding officer's office where he addressed the committee members before they later inspected the projects in the barrack.
Although Ibrahim recalled the efforts of the current administration of the President Goodluck Jonathan's government and the Chief of Army Staff, General Azubuike Ihejirika in rehabilitating the barracks, he outlined some chains of problems still confronting the barrack such as lack of water supply, bad road within the barrack, inadequate healthcare, among others.
Earlier, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, who is also chairman for sub-committee on oversight functions on Enugu and Owerri, Senator Mohhamed Jubrilla said the purpose of their visit was to examine the 2012 budget implementation and also ascertain the combat-readiness of the 82 Division of Nigerian Army.
He promised, "we will use all our powers to make sure that the 2013 budget...We will make sure we bring a lot of funds to the Nigerian army in order for them to carry their operational functions."
A member of the committee, Senator Mohammed Sani who commended on the readiness of the army to tackle contemporary challenges, said the 82 Division of Nigerian Army has achieved quite a lot in combating kidnapping, armed robbery, and other forms of challenges in terms of internal security.