No fewer than 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation have applied to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, for voluntary retirement, citing “loss of interest” as their reason for disengagement.
The soldiers wrote to the army chief on July 3, 2020, under Reference NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.
The approval of the voluntary disengagement of the 356 soldiers was contained in a 17-page circular from Buratai, AHQ DOAA/Gi/300/92, signed by Brig Gen T.E. Gagariga for the army chief.
Also, the document was copied to Headquarters, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Borno State, the Headquarters of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 81, and 82 Divisions of the Nigerian Army and other formations.
Majority of the soldiers applying for voluntary disengagement and citing loss of interest are however from the North-East theatre of operation, a development which military sources attributed to loss of morale, poor weapons, unimproved allowances and the continuous loss of soldiers to Boko Haram attacks.
Since the beginning of 2020, Boko Haram onslaughts on military locations in the North-East have also intensified with large casualties on the part of the troops of the Nigerian Army.
In March, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, said 47 soldiers were killed by a bomb explosion triggered by Boko Haram in Gorigi near the Allargano Forest area in Borno State.
In the same month, the army confirmed losing three soldiers while others were injured in a Boko Haram attack in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno.
In May, the insurgents also attacked an army location belonging to the 156 Battalion in the Mainok area with at least 10 gun trucks, killing five soldiers, while others were injured.
The 356 soldiers who applied for voluntary retirement, citing loss of interest are Master Warrant Officers, Warrant Officers, Staff Sergeants, Sergeants, Lance Corporals, Corporals and Privates.