The Nigerian military has told soldiers, in the fight against Boko Haram, complaining of fatigue to forget rest for now.
Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. John Agim, stated this in an interview with Thisday.
Agim said: “They (soldiers) want to rest, where would you get soldiers to take over from them now?
“We have soldiers that are involved in operations, all over the country. As they are finishing from this operation they are landing in another one. It is therefore, not as if they are keeping some soldiers somewhere.”
The military is involved in internal security operations in about 34 of the 36 states of the federation.
It was gathered that soldiers in battle fields are supposed to be relieved, at least, every year or at most two years to prevent them from becoming fatigued and battle weary.
But currently, many of the soldiers are said to have served on the battle field for three years or more.
Oficers and soldiers complained to Thisday the lack of care and inability of the top military command to ease their burden of fighting Boko Haram.
One of the soldiers said, “We came to the theatre on the 17 October 2015 but they have never rotated since then, especially those of my colleagues in the 156 Task Force Battalion in Allagarno under the 29 Task Force Brigade.”
“What I can tell you is that the Army has not been fair and ready to treat our soldiers who are wounded in battle. In some of the worst case scenario, we are the ones treating ourselves with our money”.
Similarly, a soldier, who sustained gunshot wound sustained in the battle against Boko Haram, recalled that it took many days until he was transferred to the Tactical Headquarters at Benishiek, Borno State.
“Up till now I cannot stand well. At a point I had to spend money over my health because Army denied me adequate treatment. All they did was to just drop me at the 7 Division Hospital without proper treatment”, he said.
Another soldier lamented: “They have kept changing other units but those of us from the Infantry under 3 Division have never been changed. The information I am getting is that they will not rotate us until we will complete three years. Can you imagine that?”
However, an officer wondered why fighting troops would be kept in the battlefield for over two years, with the dangers of fatigue and trauma.
“Ideally one year should be enough owing to battle stress. But a maximum of 18 to 24 months could suffice for a high intensity operation after which there will be high drop in their effectiveness. It’s really unfortunate and a huge failure of leadership”, he declared.