Abuja — SOME soldiers battling the Boko Haram terrorist northeast of Nigeria are reportedly suffering mental illness in silence and using drugs to cope with pressures of fighting the militants.
A retired officer has made the revelations at a workshop in the capital Abuja.
Brigadier General Gbenga Okulate said this problem presented a ticking time bomb for Nigeria when the war against the Boko Haram was eventually won.
"It has been noted soldiers are relying on drugs for agility, competence and boldness during battle," Okulate, now a mental and psychological expert, said.
He highlighted rumours that some army commanders gave soldiers drugs before they faced the Boko Haram.
"We are going to have a serious mental issue after the war like we had after the civil war where hospitals were filled with psychiatric patients," Okulate warned.
It is reported Nigeria took 15 years to address the crisis, which emanated from the civil war of 1967-1970.
"There will be a repeat of the post-civil war problem Nigeria faced if nothing urgent and drastic is done to address the mental disorders of soldiers and drug use," Okulate warned.
The Nigerian Army has been battling the Islamist Boko Haram group for the past ten years.
It has been reported troops lack morale.
Last week, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, accused some soldiers of lacking commitment in battle.
The Boko Haram are seeking to topple the government to replace it with Islamic state rule.