The Nigerian army has reportedly suspended approvals for voluntary retirement requests from soldiers, over the alleged mass application by several military personnel to quit service.
In an internal memo which was sent out in late March and made available to Premium Times, the Nigerian army disclosed that all forms 9B (military retirement application document) have been suspended and would no longer be made available to soldiers willing to voluntarily discharge from service.
Though the number of voluntary retirement applications the Nigerian army has gotten so far was not revealed in the memo, top military officers were counselled for allowing “frivolous” voluntary retirement applications to advance through the chain of command when they should have been rejected at the early stages.
While the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa did not confirm or deny the memo, a military source disclosed that most soldiers who have left service or have filed requests to leave had served multiple tours in the northeast as part of the Boko Haram war.
“Our men are giving up on the war for many reasons that are not limited to poor equipment supplies and the lack of empathy they keep seeing from their top commanders. The soldiers have been asked over and again to remain in service for the defence of their fatherland, but their hope has been waning.
“Many of them have been trapped in the northeast for years and they just want to return to their families and look for another career path away from the military.”
Some soldiers have however protested against suspension of voluntary retirement by the Nigerian army. In a petition which was released on April 4 and has been circulating on WhatsApp groups of military personnel, a lance corporal argued that the military can only invite a soldier filing for retirement “for interview, guidance and counselling or career review,” but cannot block it “if the soldier insisted” on proceeding with the retirement “application.”
“A soldier who voluntarily joined the service without any duress is now being compelled to remain in the service even against his wish. With all due respect sir, this is unacceptable.”
It is however not clear if the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai has received the petition and ordered action on it.