The Nigerian Army has recalled a large number of its personnel studying in civil institutions (universities and polytechnics) across the country following an increase in Boko Haram attacks in the North-East region and other attacks nationwide, a report has revealed.
The directive was issued in a leaked memo by the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Department of Army Training, Abuja, dated 11 May, according to the Punch.
The memo, entitled: ‘Exemption of Ex Boys (NMS) from Personnel Affected by Directive on Suspension of NA Sponsorship to Civil Institutions’, was signed by Brigadier-General I. A Ajose on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru.
It was addressed to the Ministry of Defence, Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, and Nigerian Defence Academy.
The memo cited three earlier references – A (AHQ DAPP/G5/220/16, dated March 10, 2021); B (AHQ DAT/G7/230/164, dated March 15, 2021); and C (AHQ DAT/G7/230/164, dated April 28, 2021).
“References A-C conveyed directives for the recall of all NA personnel studying in civil institutions as well as the suspension of NA sponsorships, with the exemption of final year students. Consequently, I am directed to respectfully inform you that the directive does not include Ex Boys (NMS). Grateful (sic) treat and acknowledge,” the memo stated.
According to the newspaper, the army in the memo also suspended the sponsorship of personnel in civil institutions with the exemption of students in the final year.
It was learnt that the military branch recalled all its personnel studying in various civil institutions except those in the final year.
The publication spoke to top military sources, who are brigadier generals, who defended the development, saying the decision was a result of the insufficient number of army personnel fighting insurgency across the country.
The Nigerian Army has in recent times suffered heavy casualties from Boko Haram terrorists, who killed soldiers in the theatre of war.
According to the sources, who declared that the country was already at war, insisted that army personnel could not be studying in schools while a war was going on.
“We are in a war situation, but it seems Nigerians are taking things lightly. This is a war situation, and we have less than 200,000 soldiers in a country of around 200 million population. So we are lacking personnel, and as a matter of fact, we have started recruiting,” the newspaper quoted one of the military sources as saying.
Asked if the number of recalled soldiers from civil institutions would be significant in the anti-insurgency war, the source said: “It’s significant and it will make a difference. I can’t tell you the number of soldiers in civil institutions offhand, but they are many.
“We cannot have a war situation and they are in school. But those in final year are exempted.”