The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed while speaking at a press conference in Abuja about the welfare of soldiers battling Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast, said the soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the northeast are well fed and taken care of.
The minister said this while speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, while reacting to a report by TheCable that soldiers battling insurgents were being maltreated with their allowances either withheld or diverted by top military officers.
Addressing journalists, Lai Mohammed described the report as “fake news” and an attempt to “downplay” efforts by the Military aimed at defeating Boko Haram. He said the soldiers are being paid and properly kitted for the job.
“There is no case of hunger, starvation or begging among the troops fighting in the North East, and in particular in the Armed Forces Special Forces Battalion that was referenced in the publication.”
“There is also no irregular/short payment of allowances, while claims of poor equipment, inadequate kitting and accommodation are found to be ill conceived and unfounded.
“On the allegation of poor equipment and inadequate kitting, it was found that the inflow of logistics into the theatre in the past six months showed an enormous quantity of material was distributed to troops in the theatre. Needless to say that no army in the world has all the requisite equipment to prosecute a counter-insurgency operation.
“There is no issue of hunger, improper kitting of soldiers, non-payment or short-payment of soldiers’ allowances and poor equipment at the AFSF Battalion or in any other units within Operation Lafiya Dole theatre.
“Engaging in the publication of what I can now call fake news about the troops on Sept. 21st 2018 is not only a great disservice to the nation, but a terrible downplay of the kind of sacrifices being made by our gallant troops.
“Such reports amount to collaborating with fifth columnists and enemies of the nation to weaken the fighting spirit of our fighting forces. In short, they (the reports) represent a clear and present danger to the nation’s security.”
The Minister described reports that soldiers allegedly receive the total of N500 as monthly allowance for fighting Boko Haram insurgents as laughable. He maintained that allowances due to military men battling Boko Haram in the northeast are paid into their accounts when due.
“It is laughable that soldiers are paid 500. Their allowances are paid into their accounts but it is more than N500. Also, we’re not losing soldiers. If you watch the news recently, you’ll see that our AirForce has been dealing blows to insurgents. I want to assure Nigerians that our Military is on top of this matter.”
He stated that Military authorities have also established centers to cater to issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among soldiers.