The United Nations (UN) is indebted to Nigerian army and other four countries to the tune of N127 billion through her participation in the global peacekeeping effort but, despite this, all the troops participating in the programme have been getting their allowances as and when due.
Apart from Nigeria, the other countries are Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Rwanda.
The director, army public relations, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru, who made this disclosure in Abuja during the monthly press briefing of the army, also decried the presence of some bad eggs among the troops who are sabotaging the army’s efforts.
The army spokesman, who went down memory lane, stated that some administrative and logistics factors might delay the payment of such allowances but disclosed that the army has ways of filling the vacuum.
“The Nigerian Army commenced its participation in peace support operations in 1961. The first actors of this noble endeavour are still alive and can testify to the fact that the Nigerian Army has never held back operational allowances, or any allowance for that matter, of any personnel in the last 52 years of its involvement in peace support operations.
“At times, administrative and logistics bottlenecks may delay the release of funds. The army headquarters has always made efforts to fill in the void, more so troops are kept informed of all developments. Furthermore, you will recall that, early this month, the United Nations (UN) admitted to owing Nigeria and four other countries N127.2 billion accrued through her peacekeeping efforts to the global organisation.”
Speaking on some troops who were accusing the army authorities of cutting corners, Attahiru said, “It is important to note that every organisation has bad eggs; the Nigerian Army is not different. The case of these disgruntled soldiers is just the army’s share of this societal condition, hence it should not be negatively orchestrated.”
On the ongoing counter-insurgency programme, the army spokesman said the efforts to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency is yielding positive efforts. Buttressing this point, he said, last Saturday, insurgents using rocket-propelled grenades and AK 47 rifles fired into Gamboru-Ngala. Troops deployed at that location promptly engaged the terrorists. In the ensuing fire fight, a couple of terrorists were killed, as others fled into Fotokol in Cameroun. The Cameroun authorities were promptly intimated of this development.”
He also brought to the fore what happened last Sunday when the insurgents mounted a roadblock along Dikwa-Gamboru Ngala road axis, waylaying passengers and subsequently shooting them, killing four civilians, seized foodstuffs being conveyed in a vehicle. Attahiru disclosed that the moment the troops from Special Operations Battalion (SOB) was alerted, troops moved in and pursued the attackers and five of them were killed. To prevent a recurrence, “aggressive patrols on all the highways in the northeast are being intensified.”
The army spokesman further explained that Nigerian troops are still in Mali on peacekeeping mission. He said, “Troops of 333 Artilery Regiment were rotated from MINUSMA Peacekeeping Mission in Mali in May 2013. This was occasioned by a patriotic call to duty based on heightened security situation in the northeast. It is noted that elements of the unit are currently in Mali, as an attempt to withdraw totally from the mission area would have created a void which may need to be filled by other troops-contributing countries.”