About 386 soldiers were said to have resigned from the Nigeria Army in 2020 citing various reasons including lost of interest in the profession.
This revelations was made by the House of Representatives Committee on Army on Tuesday.
Daily Correspondents report that the House of Representatives launched a probe in 2020 following speculations that 365 soldiers left the Army in the second quarter of the year under review due to dissatisfaction with the manner in which the military top brass handled insecurity issues in the north.
The Committee also revealed other categories of resignation from the force, adding that 24 resigned to take up traditional titles, while 6 were discharged on medical grounds.
According to the report, about 6,752 soldiers were discharged from the service in the last five years, although the report added that voluntary disengagement from the Army was a normal routine within the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The Committee Chairman told the House that based on his interaction with the army command, it was revealed that there are two streams of disengagements which are voluntary and compulsory disengagements.
He noted that under voluntary form of disengagement, any soldier willing to leave the service will cause a letter in his/her own handwriting to the unit commander who, making enquires as to why would, now make recommendation to the Army Headquarters through the Commanding Officer. And this happens two times in a year.
The probe also revealed that the compulsory discharge is at the discretion of the army authority based on indices available in relevant official documents.
He explained that three types of compulsory discharge such as discharge on medical ground, discharge on disciplinary ground and discharge on run out date exist in the army.
“According to the Army, many have voluntarily discharged to take over family business and to take chieftaincy titles. There is no compulsion to remain in the service when a soldier has lost interest.
“The Army gave statistics showing that in the last five years, the disengagement is far lower than the enlistment in the Army. 6,752 soldiers have discharged in the last five years while 25,655 soldiers have got enlisted within the same period.
“The lack of commitment on the part of some soldiers is the major reason for voluntary discharge from service.
“The Army disclosed to the committee that some soldiers, having seen the reality of going to the battle front especially against Boko Haram usually voluntarily discharge from the service.
“Those soldiers did not realise that engagement in the Army is more than a job; it entails personal commitment, regardless of welfare package.
“The Army also told the Committee that many soldiers also voluntarily resigned because they simply lost interest in the profession and wanted to take up or look for another job. Others voluntarily discharge from the service to take up traditional titles. There are also a few who voluntarily resigned for health reasons.
“From all the evidence available to the Committee, it is clear that: just as there is no compulsion in joining the Army, soldiers are free to voluntarily resign if they have served for up to ten (10) years. Soldiers do not resign in group, rather each soldier resigns on his/her own choice as an individual by submitting his/her own hand-written resignation letter to his/her own unit.
“It has become a routine that every year soldiers resign voluntarily, and so the case of the resignations in the second quarter of 2020 is not unusual,” the report pointed out.
Explaining further, Namdas said that the document presented to the Committee by the army command also revealed that 1,908 soldiers left the Army voluntarily or on medical ground, while 4,844 left was as a result of regular run out date.
He informed his colleagues that not all soldiers who voluntarily resigned served in the front lines or were actively engaged in any combat operation, adding that all those affected were Non-Commissioned Officers.
“The documents show that all the voluntarily discharged soldiers were Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO), ranging from Master Warrant Officer (MWO) to private (PTE).
“Based on the facts available to the Committee, there was no mass resignation from the Army. Individual soldiers resigned on their own from their units”, the report stated.
In its recommendations, the committee put forward that “the Nigerian Army should improve on the welfare of its personnel, especially those in battle fields or other combat operations to further make them more committed to their job and to the nation at large; there should be effective monitoring or follow up in the delivery of the welfare packages in all the Army formations to ensure that they reach all the beneficiaries (the soldiers) in a fair and equitable manner;
and the Army should continuously embark on orientation of soldiers, both old and new, about the reality of their job and the need to be committed to their country. This will reduce the number of soldiers leaving the Army due to a loss of interest.”