No soldier owed allowance, Nigerian Army says

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The Nigerian Army has dismissed reports that troops of an unidentified battalion under Operation Lafiya Dole protested over unpaid operational allowances and obsolete equipment in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Reports had said some aggrieved soldiers on Thursday night besieged the headquarters of the Theatre Command in Maiduguri and shot sporadically into the air to drive home their demands.

Military sources said the soldiers were protesting non-payment of their allowances, obsolete equipment, and their deployment to another location in the Theatre of Operation.

However, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, who reacted to the claim in a statement on Friday, said the reports were unsubstantiated and did not represent the true situation of the incident.

Yerima said what the reports described as a protest was a mild complaint by few soldiers of the Mobile Strike Team (MST) deployed for Exercise Tura Takaibango in the frontline of operations.

According to him, at about 3:00 p.m. on Thursday soldiers from Mobile Strike Team 10 and 11, who were primed to conduct phase 2 of Exercise Tura Takaibango in Bama after the first phase of the exercise raised some concerns.

He said: “The concerns were quickly addressed before they were relaunched to the second phase of the operations.

“On the issue of ‘obsolete weapons’ as reported in some media, the position of Army Headquarters is that soldiers have the right to demand proper weapons to prosecute the operations.

“However, the Federal Government was making concerted efforts toward deploying new fighting equipment to augment the existing ones in the theatre of operation.

“The Army wishes to also deny report that no soldier was owned any operational allowances. No soldier was owed any allowance in the theatre.”

The army spokesman assured Nigerians that the force would remain focused and determined in its constitutional roles of protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty.