John Shiklam in Kaduna
Nigerian army personnel wounded in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and are receiving medical attention at the 44 Army Referral Hospital Kaduna, have complained of being left out in the recent special promotions for those fighting insurgents.
The soldiers voiced out their feelings when the General Officer (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj. Gen. Muhammad Muhammad, visited them on their sick beds on Sunday evening at the Lafia Dole ward, exclusively for soldiers wounded during military operations.
The visit of the GOC was part of activities marking the annual West Africa Social Activities (WASA) which held on Saturday at the Parade Ground of the 2 Battalion, Ribadu Cantonment, Kaduna.
The soldiers lamented that despite their sacrifices in the war against insurgents, they were not included among the over 3,000 soldiers given special promotions recently.
Besides, they also complained about their welfare conditions, saying that presently they are incapable of providing for their families and appealed to the army authorities to come to their aide.
One of the soldiers told the GOC that his â€œbush allowanceâ€ between February and October 2017 had not been paid.
Another soldier said he was incapacitated as he can no longer go for any operation to cater for his family and appealed to the authorities for financial assistance for their wives to start up some small businesses to sustain the family.
Some of the soldiers are expected to be flown to India for further medical treatment.
The GOC while explaining that the visit was part of activities for the WASA, assured that their complaints would be forwarded to the Chief of Army Staff, which according to him, is very passionate about the welfare of soldiers and officers.
He said the WASA took place last Saturday and that it was only proper for him to visit and show that they have not been forgotten.
â€œWe will send your share of the goodies we enjoyed during the WASA so that you know that we are with you.
In an interview with journalists after going round the wards, Muhammad said the soldiers were in good hands.
â€œHaving gone round to see the patients in the different wards who are victims of our ongoing operations, my assessment of what has been done so far, is that they are in good hands.
â€œThe much that is needed to give them hope is being given to them. On the treatment, the doctors and care givers have been so wonderful.â€
He said the army would continue to interface with the management of the hospital to ensure that they get what is required, especially those in the Lafiya Dole ward.
â€œSome of them are due for evacuation to India. The assessment by the medical team here determines who goes where. The gravity of the ailments also determines who goes first.
â€œConcerning the issue of promotions and welfare, the Chief of Army Staff is very passionate about the walfare of soldiers and officers,â€ he said.