'We've Not Been Given Food For Four Days' - Nigerian Soldier In Maiduguri Laments - IReporteronline
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‘We’ve Not Been Given Food For Four Days’ – Nigerian Soldier In Maiduguri Laments

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A soldier of 145 Battalion, Damasak, Maiduguri in Borno state has alleged that the commander, Lieutenant Colonel SA Ochalla, has starved him and his colleagues for four days straight without offering an explanation.

The soldier, who spoke with SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, said the soldiers, who are fighting insurgents regardless of the situation, are aggrieved as their two months’ cigarette allowance has not yet been paid.

He stated that the Nigerian Army is symbolic of the deep-seated corruption in the polity.

He said, “We the soldiers of 145 Battalion at Damasak, Maiduguri are dying of hunger. Our commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel SA Ochala, refused to feed us for four days now. He has also refused to give us our money for March and April cigarette allowance; the world should come to our aid.

“We haven’t seen water to drink since morning, plus we have not had food for four days now. We have to fight regardless because our life comes first even before food. We are still combating insurgents even in this condition.

“This is the Nigerian system for you, everything is so corrupt. But the corruption is more pronounced in the Nigerian Army.  I have been in the Nigerian Army for more than five years now and I think I can tell you this. Imagine, we are on deployment into the bush and we have not been fed yet. Our commanding officer gave no explanation for this. He has not held any meeting with anyone regarding this issue. We are starving, please help us.”

Nigerian soldiers have complained that they are outgunned by Boko Haram and that they are often sent into battle without adequate supplies.

In December 2014, an army court sentenced 54 soldiers to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram terrorists.

The soldiers were charged with mutiny and cowardice after they refused orders in August to help retake three towns held by the Islamist militants in Borno.

At least 356 soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s North-East wrote to the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, seeking voluntary retirement over “loss of interest” last year.

The soldiers in a letter with reference number NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017, asked for approval to leave the Nigeria Army due to low morale.

SaharaReporters had extensively reported how Nigerian troops suffer mass casualty in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists due to lack of a robust intelligence apparatus and also lack of equipment.

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You Need UTME To Gain Admission Into Our Academy – NDA

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The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) has announced that the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is a basic requirement for admission into the academy.

This was made known in a statement by Maj. Bashir Jajira, the NDA Public Relations Officer, on Saturday in Kaduna.

He said the academy had nothing to do with fake news speculating that academy suspended UTME for the incoming members of 73 Regular Course.

Part of the statement read: “The academy wishes to inform the general public that UTME is one of the basic requirements for entry into the academy.

“All interested applicants into the academy must have passed the UTME and attained an acceptable minimum national standard as determined by JAMB annual policy meeting before gaining entry into the 73 Regular Course.”

He advised the general public to ignore any information on social media purporting the suspension of JAMB exam for 73 Regular Course.

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No Oil Money Again, FG Printed N60bn To Share In March – Obaseki

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo has warned that there would soon be no crude oil revenue for Nigeria to spend, adding that the federal government had to print extra N60 billion for states to share in March.

The governor made this statement on Wednesday during a meeting with the state’s Transition Committee in Benin.

Mr Obaseki noted the Nigerian economy can no longer rely on global oil prices because major oil-producing companies are now investing in alternative sectors, Channels news reported.

The governor further expressed his concern over the habitual borrowing system of the government, he explained that by the end of the year that there would be additional N16 trillion debt owed by the Nigerian government.

He mentioned that the situation may cause a collapse in the economy of the country and the value of naira because there is no way of paying back borrowed loans.

“In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March. The federal government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.

“We say remove subsidy, they say no. This April, next week again, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, the total borrowing is going to be in excess of ₦15 to ₦16 trillion.

“My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be ₦1,000, ₦2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in. You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back.”

Speaking further, the governor explained that the people are concerned about the 2023 election while they keep blaming the president for the current state of the nation’s economy.

Also, the governor commended the effort of the Independent National Electoral Committee for adopting technology to bring a change to the voting system in the country so it will be difficult to rig election results.

“INEC itself had also begun its own process of change. They have been worried, scandalised by what happened in Kogi and Bayelsa and were trying to redeem themselves.

“So using technology, they made sure that as soon as you finish voting in the polling unit, that result was uploaded straight into a portal so they can see the pattern which makes it difficult to change results at the collation centers.’’

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JUSUN To Consider NBA’s Proposal To Call Off Strike

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The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has said it would table before its National Executive Committee (NEC) a proposal to reopen federal courts and courts in states that have complied with its financial autonomy demands.

JUSUN spokesman Jimoh Musa, however, warned the proposal, made by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), was likely to split the union, whose members are on an indefinite strike.

According to a statement by NBA Publicity Secretary Dr. Rapulu Nduka, Musa spoke during a JUSUN national officers’ visit to officially communicate the circumstances leading to the Union’s ongoing strike action, as well as to seek the NBA’s support.

JUSUN began a near-nationwide indefinite strike last Monday over the non-implementation of judicial financial autonomy.

NBA 1st Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, who received the delegation, decried the failure of the State government to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Executive Order, No. 10 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 20, 2020, to enforce the autonomy of State Judiciaries.

He reiterated the NBA’s position as contained in an April 5, 2021 statement, that the timing of the strike action was “rather inauspicious.”

Aikpokpo-Martins pleaded with the union “to consider calling off the strike for its members in the federal judiciary (since the Federal Government has complied with the constitutional provisions on Judicial autonomy), as well as in the states which have given effect to the provisions of the Constitution.”

Responding, Musa expressed JUSUN’s dissatisfaction with the NBA’s “historical apathy to the autonomy of the Judiciary which left the Union with the unfortunate option of shutting down the courts.”

He however expressed the hope that the current administration of NBA President Mr Olumide Akpata will approach things differently.

Musa also bemoaned the failure of the government to enforce its previous undertakings with the union and underscored the union’s resolve not to call off the strike, until all its demands are met.

On the proposition to call off the strike for the federal judiciary, Musa observed that such a step would be a recipe for division within the union, as solidarity was at the core of the struggle.

He, however, promised to table the proposal before the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for consideration. He thereafter sought the support of the NBA in charting a new course for the Judiciary towards ensuring its independence.

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