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Army dismisses 300 soldiers for desertion, BVN inconsistency

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The Nigerian Army has dismissed over 300 soldiers from service for deserting the Operation Lafiya Dole counter-insurgency campaign in the North-East and going away without leave, among other allegations.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the men were disengaged by their unit commanders between 2015 and 2016.

Investigations showed that some of the soldiers were also discharged for certificate forgery, age fraud, inconsistent Bank Verification Number, and other conduct deemed inappropriate by the various unit commanders.

Records obtained on Thursday show that 24 soldiers of the 118 Task Force Battalion, Kaura Cross, Baga, were dismissed from the military on December 13, 2015, for refusing to board an articulated truck from Maimalari cantonment to Baga.

The men had complained about the mode of transportation and proceeded to trek for five days to the battlefront at Baga to retake the location from Boko Haram.

On arrival, their Commanding Officer, Col. S. Omolori, charged them with desertion and dismissed the first batch of 24 soldiers.

Three weeks later on January  4, 2016, Omolori discharged the second set of 30 soldiers and another 24 men also for desertion.

Further investigations revealed that 45 soldiers of 157 Battalion were equally expelled on January 16, 2016, for going AWOL.

Also, on February 28, 2016, 24 soldiers were demobilized for going AWOL just as 36 privates who graduated from the Army depot were sent packing by the authorities for certificate forgery, inconsistent BVN, age fraud, among other issues.

Checks, however, revealed that some of the affected soldiers had challenged their dismissal by their unit commanders, whom they accused of high-handedness and tyranny.

The ex-soldiers, in their petitions to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, pleaded to be reabsorbed into the military.

A lawyer to the former troopers, Johnson Oyewole, expressed confidence that the COAS would address the soldiers’ complaints, nullify their dismissal and reinstate them into the army, noting that many cases were being reviewed.

Oyewole, who is representing over 200 dismissed soldiers, said, “The problem is from some field commanders who have failed to flush out insurgents in their areas of responsibility and were venting their frustration on the troops.”

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NIGERIA

Enforce Public Procurement Laws – CSOs tells Buhari

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Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center CISLAC has called for the enforcement of public procurement laws in all contract bidding especially one that has to do with international organisations.

Citing the Process and Industrial Developments Limited P&ID case, the agency said the international scam would not have been possible if due diligence was followed and public officials, patriotic and honest.

The agency also decried the connivance by Nigeria public officers with foreign companies to defraud the country of monies that could be spent on providing basic amenities for the citizens.

While lamenting the non interest of National Assembly in the case, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa expressed regrets over efforts by the lawyers representing the country to frustrate the case.

The CSO commended the proposed Database for recovered assets, but however called on the government clarify if the database will be accessible to the ordinary citizens.

CISLAC therefore called on citizens to continue to hold public officers accountable.

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NIGERIA

Nigerian Navy deploys 6 warships, 60 gunboats for operation in 4 States

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The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board six warships and 60 gunboats for a special military exercise.

The drill targets pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalizes in the nation’s waters.

Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, made the announcement.

He spoke at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State

The operation code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ means ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.

The States to be covered are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers.

The commander explained the operation would consolidate ‘Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II’

Adeniran added that the purpose was to train personnel and check the state of preparedness of fleets.

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NIGERIA

Buhari reports Boko Haram, bandits to UN

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told the international community that Nigeria was still battling Boko Haram and bandits.

Buhari’s message was contained in his pre-recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He urged countries to take a strong action against illicit flow of small arms and light weapons.

“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa. In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria counts on cooperation with neighbours and UN counter-terrorism bodies to overcome terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.

The President said his administration will sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.

On COVID-19, the Nigerian leader added his voice to supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for all.

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