The Nigerian Army has vowed to deal with any of its personnel who engages relevant authorities via social media to channel their complaints.
Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, Director of Army Public Relations, issued the warning in a statement on Saturday.
The warning comes after some Non-Commissioned Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers had written a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari to reject the proposed Nigerian Army Welfare Housing Scheme.
According to the army, the signatories – 05NA/57/2084 Sgt. Yusuf Shetima,04NA/55/0925 Cpl James Ibok, 09NA/62/5578 LCPL Danladi Ibrahim,11NA/66/10622 LCPL Afolabi Showumi and 13NA/70/11034 PTE Lucky Dolph – “who claimed to be writing on behalf of NA soldiers are fictitious names and numbers which are non-existent in the Nigerian Army records”.
The army spokesperson insisted that the scheme was meant to benefit soldiers and members of their family.
Yerima explained that Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff, met an Army Housing Scheme in the pipeline and constituted a committee to understudy its feasibility.
He noted that the disaffection might have arisen when the committee administered questionnaires to the soldiers in its bid to allow soldiers speak their mind on the scheme and know those interested in the project.
The statement read: “That the current Chief of Army Staff met an Army Housing Scheme in the pipeline and constituted a Committee to understudy its feasibility and desirability. Questionnaire was subsequently designed by the Committee for soldiers to bare their minds on the scheme and to ascertain those who are interested in it.
“It was still at this stage of administering the questionnaire to soldiers that agent provocateurs seized the moment to demonize the scheme with toxic narratives.”
Yerima insisted that the army has established mechanisms of responding to administrative issues, saying social media was not one of such channels.
He stated that any personnel caught using social media platforms to channel any complaint to relevant authorities “will be severely dealt with”, adding that it will investigate instances where such reports have been made.
“That members of the Nigerian Army have established mechanisms of responding to administrative issues and resort to social media is not one of them. Any personnel caught using social media to engage the authorities will be severely dealt with.
“It is however curious that a scheme meant to benefit soldiers and families could be so fragantly twisted in the social media using names and numbers that are alien to the Nigerian Army. The motive for this kind of strange act will ultimately be uncovered,” the statement read.