24 August 2015

Nigeria: Army Assembles Dismissed CO's, Officers in Jaji for Screening

The Nigerian Army has assembled all the Commanding Officers and Soldiers accused of refusing to fight Boko Haram in Jaji for screening.

The COs and other officers who hitherto were placed under detention, awaiting court martial maybe moved to Kontagora to join others soldiers who are already there for a one-month training.

Other beneficiaries of the screening exercise include soldiers who deserted the army when their units were preparing to deploy to the North-East.

Already about 2,000 dismissed soldiers cleared recently to rejoin the service have arrived at the Nigerian Army Artillery Corps barracks in Kontagora for a one-month reengagement training, due to commence today.

The soldiers are among the about 4,000 troops that the army on August 2, said it would review their cases.

The troops were from 116 Battalion, 341 Battalion, Team A, Task Force Mike, 321 Battalion and 202 Battalion which were involved in the war against Boko Haram, in parts of Adamawa and Borno states. They were dismissed from the army early this year, on charges of desertion and refusing to fight Boko Haram in the North-East.

Other soldiers were sentenced to death by a military court martial, within the same period.

The one month training session will be organized for the soldiers after they went through a screening exercise that started on August 17 at Jaji military cantonment, Daily Trust learnt.

About the same number of soldiers and officers were also being screened at Jaji and would be transferred to Kontagora for the training, military personnel told our reporter yesterday.

Some of the soldiers who have arrived Kontagora, said they were documented on their arrival at the barracks and told that they would go through one month of 'reorientation' training.

"About 800 of us were brought from Jaji in a convoy of 10 luxury buses and a number of military trucks on Friday. We have gone through documentation and an officer who addressed us on Saturday, had informed us that we would begin training on Monday," one of the soldiers said.

"We are very happy with the army for reversing the action on us. But we will plead with them to give us some time to settle back in the barracks with our families before they take us back to the North-East. Doing that will help restore our honour and wipe away the shame and humiliation that the dismissal had placed on us. We are not afraid to fight and die for this country," he said.

Another soldier, who said he and his colleagues were taken to Kontagora on Thursday, said they were waiting to be issued with uniforms.

He described the screening at Jaji as 'very simple' interface. "We were only asked our names, army number, if our salaries were not being paid, if we had been ejected from the barracks and if we will comply to an order requiring us to go to the North-East," he said.

He said another convoy of nine buses and six trucks had conveyed more soldiers to Kontagora on Saturday. There is however no information on the soldiers that were convicted for mutiny, as military personnel taking part in the exercise told Daily Trust that they were not seen at Jaji for the screening.

The spokesperaon of the army, Col Sani Usman, earlier in the month, disclosed that the army was undertaking the review of the disciplinary cases on account of a "wave of litigations and petitions by some aggrieved personnel."


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